Day 5. Thursday, September 25, 2014
Stendhal, a 19th Century French writer said, “Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.” Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not that scholarly. I haven’t read a word of his writing, but when looking for quotes about beauty, this came up and it made perfect sense.
I’ve been up since 6 am, which for a retired person who has a fractured shoulder, is absurd. I was awakened by the change in the sound of traffic outside my window. Usually, I hear only the occasional car passing without any hint as to what is happening outside and I can successfully ignore it. Today, the sound was slushy. You know that sound that cars make when the roads are wet and the tires push aside the moisture. Here in California we haven’t heard that sound in earnest for some time.
I lay basking in my “retiredness” when I realized that the dog would have to “go potty” in the rain and that could only mean a smelly dog would return into my house. I thought about the fact that this is the only rain she will have experienced in her short 8 month life Since she normally goes out at 730 am or so, I thought that the rain might be worse later, so I dragged myself out of bed.
As I convinced her it wasn’t a bad dream and that in fact she needed to “go potty” I realized that I needed to be the one to introduce her to going out fast and coming back in as dry as possible. (The trainer told me that her reaction to “firsts” would depend on how I trained her to perceive them.) Bless her little heart, she adhered to our training of “go potty” on command and I brought her back in relatively dry. We sat back and listened to the rain from the comfort of a dry house.
The rain polished the streets to a wonderful shine reflecting the house lights and street lamps. The promise of a break in the drought made this rain much more beautiful than normal. The potential that this rain would help out the weary firefighters battling the blaze up north made the rain much more beautiful than normal. The fact that I could watch it come down without having to worry about going out into it, made it more beautiful than normal. My citrus trees were watered …without fear of reprisal from the city. Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness. I am so grateful for the beautiful rain.
Later, after I re-upgraded my iPhone so that it would actually work, I dragged myself out to so some shopping. Actually, I am going stir crazy and there is only so much Netflix I can take. I wandered over to Marshall’s looking for some distraction and perhaps a wreath or two that would designate the beginning of the fall season. I wandered around and discovered that there are a bazillion sweaters for sale. Now I just love me some over-sized, cozy, warmth on a hanger! I found my wreaths and just wandered, reluctant to go back home just yet. I decided to just watch people as they shopped. I listened as mom’s told their kids why they needed the shoes that they were trying on. I listened as a trio of young women agreed on what would be the perfect blouse to go with that pair of boots that just HAD to be worn to the dance on Saturday next. I watched as people touched, evaluated, discussed and ultimately decided where an item was beautiful and should be purchased. The reasons behind each purchase as different as the purchases themselves. The common thread was the promise of happiness. Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness. I am so grateful that we live in a country that provides us with such abundance and freedom to choose, display and opine as to what is beautiful, and then in turn, allows us to pursue our happiness.
Later in the afternoon I was able to talk to my daughter for an extended period of time. We spoke of many things, but in particular, her new cat, Rodney Dangerfield. The 4 year old feline is apparently very happy in her home and she is incredibly happy to have found him at the last minute. Her dad had just left her to return to California and she was particularly sad at the time so she succumbed to her desire for a pet to keep her company. As we talked, I realized that she thought that cat was beautiful when she picked it. And she was right. That cat makes her less lonely, and very happy. I think that the cat is beautiful too. It allows me to be happy that my daughter is happy. Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness. I want nothing more than my daughter to be happy. I am grateful that my daughter has a beautiful cat.
We should all look around us and look deeply in the eyes of beauty. Why does she elude us? Why do we pass over the promise of happiness in the simple things? Are we moving so fast that we choose not to take the time to evaluate the meaning of everyday occurrences? Looking for the beauty will allow us more insight into the happiness we seek. Perhaps its already here and we are missing it. We should look for the promise of happiness to see the beauty in focus. And when we find that focus, we will feel gratitude.
I returned home to evaluate the effect of my new fall wreaths on the front doors.