Monday, January 28, 2013

Beauty is as beauty does

photo of red bellied woodpecker in a snow storm
© harrington
I believe the bird pictured at the suet in yesterday's snow storm is a red bellied woodpecker. I know that's a goldfinch at the tube feeder. But redbellied? The head is obviously red and the name redheaded woodpecker was no doubt already taken. Nevertheless, there's no obvious red on the belly of the bird. Why not striped or barred redheaded woodpecker? One more of life's mysteries I'll probably never comprehend. This may be what Adriana Trigiani was referring to when she wrote that "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved." I've been trying to live that philosophy for a number of years now. Try as I might, I keep seeing problems and exercising what I believe is one of my significant skills: solving problems. I've never solved a problem in a way that did anything for my sense of awe and wonder (which is never, ever to be confused with shock and awe). Rachel Carson has written several great books, among them The Sense of Wonder. Recently, that has been  augmented by Orion Magazine's collection of essays Wonder and Other Survival Skills. Look at the variety of birds that come to feeders, the incredible beauty of most of the photographs from the Hubble, learn that seed cells exhibit metabolic processes. Slow down long enough to write a brief note about it. This adds incredible value to my life. If I'm to thrive, not merely survive, I need to nurture my sense of wonder. Do you? As I become more and more convinced that sustainable development requires a large dose of beauty, I find that openness to beauty plays a greater role in my life. May your life be filled with more beauty than you deserve.