How to See Beauty in What You Already Have (Really)
I encountered God in the plums. The deep amethyst, crystal clear liquid; the scent of cinnamon; the sunlight streaming through the jars of that brilliant violet canning liquid creating purple rainbows across the countertop. All of it real, right there in my kitchen delivered as a gift from Mother Nature. Nothing I had to add to make those colors and scents- only my participation in that moment to stop and notice how pure and real and true they were. William Carlos Williams must have had a similar experience when he wrote his 1934 poem, “This is Just to Say”.
This Is Just to Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Moments like these leave me asking myself why it’s so difficult to notice, with this depth of clarity, the everyday beauty that is all around us in the seemingly mundane. After a particularly rough week of parenting, the steaming jars called out to me with a force that was undeniable in its intensity. In that moment when I stood looking at the freshly processed fruit and floating cinnamon sticks I was suddenly amazed that I created something so beautiful, yet so simple. And all I did was show up with a pressure canner and some fruit. Therein lays the joy we’re seeking every day, I think.
Life builds and builds and we lose our way of the simple and the pleasant, until we can’t see anything besides the next item on our self-imposed to-do list
(it all has to be all so damn complicated)...and then, we are reminded of why we exist in the first place. That sensual experience, so beautiful and so unique to that moment in time, we can’t help but stop to experience it, hoping that when we think back on the memory it will be just as vivid as the reality.
Designing for the home is a lot like recreating my experience with the plums. We take a look back at our best and most positive past experiences of our environments and pull out the very best moments, those fleeting instances of color or texture, like the color of the interior of my parents’ Chevy, or remembering stories of ancestors. Brief flashbacks of memories, such as waking up with the sun at the age of four to go out and eat strawberries out of the garden. Or swinging in my tree swing, singing louder and louder the higher I went. These blips on our radar of memory point us in a direction of peace and love and joy and guide us to the life we want to create for ourselves as adults. We feel good when we recall these past experiences. And the amazing thing is that we can harness these memories to create that same feeling of wholeness in our homes and lives today.
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