Experience and Observation

The sky’s blue is almost as rich as the river below it. Sheltered beneath the paternal curving branches and watching as the birds explore with song, I think, and the thoughts come with ease. I think that it is easy to see beauty on a day such as this. Spring has accelerated the water’s pace and filled it to bursting with joy. The new grass is animated by the breeze, which makes it dance. And warmth pulses with an agreeable freshness.

Yes, it is easy to see such beauty, to identify and observe, perhaps even to describe it, (as I have done here). It is far less easy to feel it. And yet it is the experience of beauty that is imbued with transformative power. To experience, we must stop, let the wire fall from our ears and expand our vision to the whole self, instead of reducing it to the four corners of a camera. I listen to the water hum and listen as its words swell into speech; watch the dappled yellow stones beneath the shallow surface; breathe in the newness of spring, and feel the coolness and the damp grassy mud on which I sit.

And in silence I begin to learn the river for what it is and not for what I would project upon it, not for what I would have it be. The river is itself and I am myself, and we are together, being. And in that moment we are both pieces, little fragment reflections of beauty, both connected by echoes of transcendence. As I stand and leave this undisputed beauty behind, I carry pieces of it within me which see further cause for contemplation and joy in the not-yet-noticed radiance of not so easily observed beauty. I feel refreshed, more of myself (not less), closer to the whole and to its source, and embraced in some unexplained unity.

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