Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing



Over at Writing Our Way Home, Fiona Robyn is hosting a "blogsplash," in which we all write a post today about our "most beautiful thing"—in honor of her new novel of the same name. I encourage you to do the same, whether you have a blog or not!

So here I am this morning, in my writing loft, the rain tapping on the skylight, my dog Abbe leaning against my leg. I've just returned home from a trip, and as always happens this time of year, my yard has changed ever so slightly: the Gravenstein apple tree has burst into song, as has my neighbor's flowering dogwood. The lilac's even thinking about blooming.

And the containers out front have somehow regenerated themselves without any help from me: pansies that overwintered spill across their depleted soil; sedums vibrate in glossy green; zebra-striped grasses inch up from the ground.

My most beautiful thing? It's hard to choose this time of year. Everything raises its hand and says, choose me! Oh, oh, oh, it's me!

When I first heard about this blogsplash, the first image that came to mind was this:


Of course my baby girl is always the most beautiful thing, but this picture captures not only her sweet face (and her lion's ruff), but also the time of day for our best walks: Spring evening, about 8:00, when the light slants in from the west and illuminates everything.

And then, yesterday evening, after my post-trip hot tub soak in my backyard, I sat on my deck in my terrycloth bathrobe, damp, and faced the large western sky. My heart pounded from the heat, while a French-Canadian station played guitar jazz inside and soothed the air. I faced the streaks of clouds breaking up on the horizon, saw how slowly they moved, and my mind began to move just as slowly, to settle and expand. I looked back into my house, felt the calm in there, saw my little dog's face waiting at the screen door.

And I knew then that the most beautiful thing is always the moment at hand. The most beautiful thing is when the endless chatter stops—especially the self-recriminations, the repetitive judgments—and you can simply gaze at the life you've created. The most beautiful thing is gratitude. The most beautiful thing, it turns out, is you.



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