Tag Archives: beauty

360 Degree Beauty: Everyday Magic, Day 535

97 tornadoes later, what a difference a day makes. Although my heart is heavy for those suffering loss of home and place throughout Kansas, and especially those who lost their loved ones in Oklahoma, I am surrounded by such beauty today that it both takes my breath away and gives it back.

All day, nursing my usual WTF-sinus-flare-up, I was immersed in cool wind, dazzling sun and vibrancy that sang in four-part harmony. Lying on the bed outside mid-afternoon, I couldn’t believe the juxtaposition of the bright, light green of the new leaves against the pristine blue of the sky. Walking earlier with Shay the dog, Ken, Jerry and Danny, I loved the smell of the final wisp of polka-dotting rain. Late afternoon after planting peas (short-cut method: four sugar snap pea plants), I was delighted by the color of blossoming perennial geraniums (surprise!) once I removed enough weeds.

Then this evening, just at sunset, I took the dog for a short walk up the drive just to look at the sky. The color and light were so spectacular, I had to stop several time, and turn slowly around. In the west, the silver-pink edges of high clouds shone against that life-giving, all-is-forgiven light blue. To the south, the cedars met the hedgeapple trees with only a narrow path between them, all the grass lush and green. Turning east, I looked into towering cedars and reminded myself that dozens of birds lived in that high rise glowing black-green. To the north, the hills landed and spread themselves out toward Lawrence.

A day ago, we were following radar, six websites at once on multiple computers, the radio calling out storm warnings and TV loops of the same 30 second coverage, running upstairs and down while the sky tipped itself over. Maps of Kansas tornado-rouletted with those tell-tail red blotches, hooking at the bottom, and we were immersed in worry and prayer about what would happen next.

Now, the wind still high and fast, one layer of life has folded under and the next layer is landing all around us. Don’t forget to turn around slowly and take it all in.

Happiness: Everyday Magic, Day 162

Sometimes I’m just very happy, inexplicably too. But then again, I find that if I’m not immersed in the stress of life, weighed down by the schemes and worries of my little mind and the big world, I’m usually pretty darn happy. What makes me happy? Feeling healthy, light and free, awake or sleepy but without agenda…..and sometimes with agenda. The more I think about it, the more I can’t get exact or even general.

“Happiness. It comes on/ unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really….” Raymond Carver wrote in his poem “Happiness.” It isn’t the result of a formula, the achieving of a goal, the absence of pain. The sun today makes me happy, the warm coming through the large windows from where I sit in the upstairs gallery above Signs of Life. Justin Marable’s art all around makes me happy, especially the way he uses suns and moons as off-center cores of his work. The wooden floor, the comfortable but sturdy black leather chair, the Christmas tree with an off-center candy-cane striped bow on top, the woman who just circles this room, smiling at the art — all of this adds to the happiness I feel.

But happiness is also much more like a place to arrive, a pool of light to step into, a perch to stand on from which to view the world. It’s a despite-and-because-of, beyond-reach-and-within-touch kind of place to breathe into, and from this place, to look around and within, and feel the innate joy of being alive and well while the people below me drink coffee and chat about the holidays, while the train several blocks away sing-howls its arrival, while the late afternoon sun cusps the buildings.