Beauty II

My friend Steve and I
had been photographing
in the Smokies
and were headed home.
It was late at night.
Sheets of rain were falling.
A semi traveled ahead of us,
pulling a huge stainless steel tank
designed for hauling some sort of liquid.
“Wow! Look at that!” Steve said, sitting upright.
I didn’t see anything other than slanting rain
and columns of headlights in the darkness.
“Look at those gorgeous light reflections
swirling on the back of that truck!”
Steve said, leaning forward.
I squinted to see what he was seeing.
Sure enough, there it was—
a surrealistic display of dancing light,
taking on ever new and dazzling forms
each time a car passed by.
It was as if we had our own kaleidoscope,
eight feet in diameter, right before us.
Steve was the one who excitedly recognized
that nighttime appearance of beauty.
I had not seen it myself.

Remembering that drive home, I state my belief:
beauty is everywhere around us.
We need not stand on a mountain peak
or linger beside a sunset-lit sea
to witness true presentations of beauty.
Loveliness may show itself in the way
sunlight filters through a nearby window
or radiance filters through a loved one’s eyes.
Beauty may make itself known in
an unexpected flash of color,
an interesting arrangement of shapes,
or a lovely design where you wouldn’t expect
such design to appear.
Life-giving beauty often manifests itself
ever so simply—
one solitary flower,
one dangling wisp of hair,
one luminous look on a face.
Ultimately beauty is a gift we’re given,
wherever we are,
whatever we’re doing.
We need only our eyes to open it.

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