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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beautiful Beans

Why is anything beautiful? Here is one of my scarlet runner bean plants, sending up spires of radiant buds that open into splendid red blooms. After this incredible display, it produces... beans, common, mundane little vegetables. (I'm growing them to eat, but I expect that, if I look closely, I will find that they have beauty too.) Things that don't last long, things that are leftovers or throwaways, are often beautiful. In Alaska, we saw chunks of ice fallen from glaciers. Light gleams through them in the most ethereal, mysterious arctic blue. Then they melt. Seashells fall to the ocean floor and wash up on the beach by the millions, vacant armor of creatures now dead, but they are fluted and swirled and striated in incredible variety, and tinted pink, cream, purple, yellow, red. 
     Out behind a convent and school in New York, where I was a chaperon with a children's choir, I walked a labyrinth, a convoluted path mowed into the grass. A minute or so into it, I realized that the uncut green borders were not just green; they were sprinkled with tiny wildflowers in many colors. If I hadn't been walking slowly along the path and allowing my mind to take in whatever presented itself, I never would have noticed them. Once I did, I found myself seeing them everywhere. 
     I used to see nothing but flaws. I still have that tendency. Now, at least, it's tempered by the knowledge that there are offerings of beauty everywhere, and I can hold my magnifying glass over them. Knowing that they may be gone tomorrow makes it all the more important to look now. It's more than worth the mental effort, because it has finally got through my head that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17) "Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." (Psalm 29:2) Amen.

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