Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beauty Everywhere and Always

Out in the wilds of the mall yesterday - kiosks, food courts and escalators, oh my! - I happened upon a question which I think I had been seeking for some time. Some photos of the Savannah River near Augusta have been tugging at my mind practically begging to be posted on the blog, but I wanted context. I wanted some reason to talk about my love of rivers. I suppose I could have just said simply, "I love rivers," but so what? Why should anyone care that one of my favorite forms of meditation when I lived in Virginia (and before I had a digital camera) was to pull off of the Colonial Parkway and nestle in among exposed roots of trees lining the bank of the James?

This was also before I had thought about trying to draw, so I would sit with a book or my journal and just BE with the river. To sit there, alone, felt like a massage for my mind and for my heart. Nature always does this for me, but a river does it best. So yesterday when I stood in a stationery shop and chanced upon the question, "How will you bring beauty to the world today?", I knew I'd found the context by which to bring a river to you.

Rivers, beautiful, beautiful rivers - beautiful beyond description - etch canyons out of massive rocks; carry mountains to the sea; roar over falls and toss up rainbows; sustain crocodiles and cranes. Long before their energy was harnessed to power anything, let alone our computers and microwaves, rivers were enshrined in myths as the guiding force in the psyche of many cultures. The power of rivers to smooth out the rough places in the psyche, to bring serenity, much as they polish branches and stones is a power to be lauded indeed.

I submit, however, that the power of the river to be celebrated as supreme is its power to be Beauty everywhere and always. Beauty and life for one and all, salmon and Siddhartha alike. Always.

[The top photo was taken from a bridge linking the Riverbanks Zoo (Columbia, S.C.) along the Saluda River with its gardens. I would give this shot the title 'A Series of Tubes'. The second photo is from a walk along the Augusta Canal.]

1 comment:

BrianC said...

How funny that you would pull off the Colonial Parkway and sit along the riverbank. I've done the very same thing - altho' not in a long time. There's something about the James that I've always found attractive - and it's not the chemicals dumped into the river at Hopewell! I guess it's the history along that river, a connection to the 17th century. I've spent even more time along the southside banks of the river. Indeed, one of my fondest memories is from that area, walking along the river near Westover Plantation. I was 18 and on a foggy, early spring, dawn walk with a good friend. There was some attraction there beyond mere friendship, but during that walk I realized that I really cared about her more than I had been willing to admit. And walking along, we both recognized that moment, and began holding hands. I know - a pretty innocent story, and awfully silly from a nearly 45-year-old guy.