"There is so much beauty in the world. If you blink, you'll miss it."
How can we ever know the difference we make to the soul of the earth? Where the infinite stillness of the earth meets the passion of the human eye, invisible depths strain towards the mirror of the name.
In the word, the earth breaks silence. It has waited a long time for the word. Concealed beneath familiarity and silence, the earth holds back and it never occurs to us to wonder how the earth sees us. Is it not possible that a place could have huge affection for those who dwell there?
~ John O'Donohue
"What I find very strange is this. That I think what's magnificent about Bach is that when you listen to this music, and it moves you so much, I mean, it's just a bunch of sound waves crashing into your ear, and you have to contain — you see this emotion bubbling up, you start seeing, like, tearing up, and saying, well, what's going on? These are just sounds crashing into my — what's going on in here?"
~ Bernard Chazelle
"I finally realized that beauty was not a thing I could acquire or consume. It was something I just had to be...You can't rely on how you look to sustain you. What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful, is compassion for yourself and for those around you...So I hope my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty."
~ Lupita Nyong'o, speaking at Essence's Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
"There are lots of things in the world that give us acute pleasure. There are also lots of things in the world that make us feel marginal. But there's almost nothing other than beauty that does those two things simultaneously, that gives us acute pleasure at the very moment that it makes us feel marginal and happy to be on the margins, to stand back, to listen to the piece of music and just feel awe at what has been created."
~ Elaine Scarry
"Beauty and seduction are nature's tools for survival, because we protect what we fall in love with. It opens our hears and makes us realize we are part of nature and that we're not separate from it."
~ Louie Schwartzberg
"I love the apparent truth of theater. I love that people are willing to fill in the blanks.
The audience is willing to say, 'Oh, I know that's not a real sun. You took pieces of sticks. You added silk to the bottom. You suspended these pieces. You let it fall flat on the floor. And as it rises with the strings, I see that it's a sun.'
But the beauty of it is that it's just silk and sticks. And in a way, that is what makes it spiritual. That's what moves you. It's not the actual literal sunrise that's coming. It's the art of it."
~ Julie Taymor, from "Spider-Man, The Lion King and Life on the Creative Edge," TED Talks, March 2011
“Our attempt to find and construct beauty and order out of things, I think we always have that impulse. So, even this huge curated space that is disorienting, our eye wants to simplify and focus. Even if it’s unconscious, we want to experience beauty.”
~ Brendan O'Connell, from "Paintings of Walmart," Studio 360, August 2, 2013
is a holy book,
a scripture ~
of your flesh
in exquisite detail
with the finest hand,
inscribed by spirit
with the poetry
lessons of mercy,
and the story
of your life
an illuminated manuscript
of a sacred writing
epic in scope,
on your head
and line on your face,
every rushing tide
of wind and wave
this living testament
to the truth
within you ~
Study this text
with conviction then,
reflect with care
upon its meaning,
Would you complain because a beautiful sunset doesn’t have a future or a shooting star a payoff? And why should romance "lead anywhere"? Passion isn’t a path through the woods. Passion is the woods. It’s the deepest wildest part of the forest; the grove where the fairies still dance and obscene old vipers snooze in the boughs. Everybody but the most dried up and dysfunctional is drawn to the grove and enchanted by its mysteries, but then they just can’t wait to call in the chain saws and bulldozers and replace it with a family-style restaurant or a new S and L. That’s the payoff, I guess. Safety. Security. Certainty. Yes, indeed. Well, remember this: we’re not involved in a ‘relationship’, you and I, we’re involved in a collision. Collisions don’t much lend themselves to secure futures, but the act of colliding is hard to beat for interest.
At the beginning of every semester, as cottonwoods wave their yellow prayer flags or wait with buds encased in snow, I tell my aspiring poets that the thing I most want them to get out of my class isn't how to create a powerful poetic voice, or how to use metaphors and rhyme, or how to get published and become famous. I tell them that the most important thing I hope they'll take away from my class is how to pay attention to their lives.
I tell them that the nineteenth-century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley said poetry's purpose is "to remove the scales of familiarity from our eyes." Shelley saw how we become habituated to people, landscapes, and things. He observed how we walk around lost in our thinking minds, on automatic pilot, and no longer experience what's around us—the shadows of ash-tree leaves on my desk, a crow cawing in the distance, the voices of children rising from the street. Emerson knew this, too. He said, "To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again." I want my students to see that poems are all around them, that we find our originality in the uniqueness of the present moment.
by Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
The ultimate full moon shot. Dean Potter walks a highline at Cathedral Peak as the sun sets and the moon rises. Shot from over 1 mile away with a Canon 800mm and 2X by Michael Schaefer.
This shot was part of a bigger project for National Geographic called The Man Who Can Fly.
Music track is from Will Bolton.