Monday, January 10, 2011
What is beauty? The dictionary definition is: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern. By that rationale, beauty is a set object, a sensory perception that is inspired by that which surrounds us. However, beauty is different to each person. What appears to inspire a positive reaction in one person may not instill the same thing in another. The definition may hold true, but no matter how depressing the cliché, beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder. Whether it be watching your child take their first step, speak their first word, or break their first inanimate object, what may come off as annoying or spoiled to the outside observer, may be a cherished moment in the eyes of the parent. So what is beauty? How can it be defined as one to all people? How can the same instance be one and the same to all? It can’t. It never could be. What defines us as a person is not necessarily based on what we do, for perception is as much of a factor as any action we partake in. Beauty is the sun setting over the ocean. The golden ripples on the water slowly fading in and out as the sun descends over the western horizon. Beauty is your 5-year old niece telling you to not be so angry on your worst of days. It is the soft sigh your lady gives you in the earliest of mornings as she turns over and her short breath slowly catches the side of your neck, while still in the throws of a satisfying sleep. It’s Keith Richards’s guitar on Gimme Shelter. It is the utter exhaustion yet elation your dog feels after it’s just sprinted two miles with you on a deserted trail. The sound of your mother’s voice on your sickest of days as a child, telling you that she’s made you something to eat. Beauty is the bride on her wedding day. Her hair perfectly formed, her dress perfectly adorned and a radiance that forces one to never look away. Beauty is the voice of your best friend cracking as he gives his wedding vows to the love of his life. It’s the taste of grape lip-gloss on her lips as you lay the softest of kisses on her. It’s the smoky yet sustained voice of Nina Simone, wailing that black is the color of her true love’s hair. Beauty is none of these things and it is all of these things. It has no definition and it has no timeframe. It is timeless, and it is without comparison. Beauty is that which we cannot get enough of and it is that which we rarely get to experience even though it exists around us on every waking second of every day. It is the roses that we were told to stop and smell. It’s the written word. 26 letters rearranged to create the most poignant of dialogue or the cheesiest of blog entries. It is all these things and more. It’s all we can hope for and all that we can never find.