Friday, October 15, 2010

The Beauty Always There


Autumn alights on my kitchen table as neighborhood children unload this gift of leaves.  We configure the apparatus:  one leaf, a white sheet of paper, and a broken crayon stripped of its packaging. 

Leaf Rubbings on an Autumn Evening
We smooth the crayon against the clean page.  As if by magic, the unseen leaf appears.

The children hold their breath, amazed.  One of them looks at her paper and then up at me.  She exclaims, "We didn't even need the Internet to do this!"

My youngest is overcome with the impossibility of it--a crayon pressed to her page reveals a pattern that's there but could not previously be seen. 

All night I press my mind against this event.  The leaf represented a reality we couldn't see but that made itself evident when we rubbed against it.  Was I encountering a truly beautiful thing in that moment, the kind of beauty philosophers pause for, the kind of beauty that poets claim can break your heart (and repair it)?  

It's always there, underneath.

8 comments:

Kristine said...

I couldn't help but laugh at your daughter's comment. What difference a few years make.

I haven't made a leaf rubbing in over a decade. Maybe I should change that.

Aysel said...

I think I will keep this leave analogy for the days when I have to embrace the uncertain, take a new road. Even as I am scared I should remember that just by looking at a blank page nothing will happen. It's taking action that makes the "invisible" appear. Our actions and our choices help our dreams materialize, add physicality to what was perceived before as miracles.

I am falling in love with your blog and the way you find the right words to express what I frequently feel.

LivewithFlair said...

Kristine, I loved doing the leaf rubbing as an adult! It is so fun to relive the childhood memories!

LivewithFlair said...

Aysel,
That's such a beautiful point about staring at the blank page! Thank you!

Madalyn said...

I do this every fall with my family too.

P.S. I blogged during Stat class - it's up, I'm still editing but I need help with the title (I forgot the idea you mentioned) and any thoughts on what I'm missing?

Thanks so much for listening :)

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

I must second Aysel. I had forgotten all about these rubbings which I did as a child; and now, this post and this comment remind me to always be aware of what/Who is always there though unseen.

Douglas Dahl said...

"We didn't even need the Internet to do this!" Now that is a great line! Yes,there is much beauty to uncover once we begin to get involved and "rub" against each other.

Claire said...

Heather, you are not at all crazy! What makes it beautiful is the sentiment behind it.

That is what makes a photo.

Breaking and healing simultaneously. This is powerful.