Beauty is Tough

Beauty doesn’t have a very good reputation. It’s known for being quite fragile, delicate even. Beauty is gets a bad wrap for a short shelf-life and deceptive ways. Beauty needs an image make-over.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time now. I think beauty is tough. I think beauty holds on and won’t let go. I think beauty happens often where you least expect it and in places you’d given up on.

A tree fell on my house last year. In one mighty crash, everything turned upside down and inside out. The roof caved in. Our safe place, wasn’t. I have been sad, angry and unsettled every day since then. I have not been beautiful.

A few weeks ago, I was checking how work was going at the house. Our yard has been demolished in the most literal sense. Bulldozers, cranes and tractors have scraped every bit of life from the property.

That’s when I noticed them: flowers in bloom… not really anywhere close to where they used to be planted. But they were blooming all the same.

They didn’t get the memo that everything was a wreck. No one told them they weren’t expected this year, so don’t bother. They missed the meeting on being discontent and angry.

I remember after Hurricane Katrina hearing the story of a woman who noticed the woods around her doing unexpected things trying to save itself. She called a friend crying, “What are we going to do? The trees are confused. They think it’s spring.” He told her, “Nature is never confused. It knows what to do.”

My yard flowers were not confused. They knew what to do. Beauty is tough.

I think there are more stories like this all around me: tales of nature being beautiful without any help from us and people who are not confused because they know what to do. I’d like to hear them.

Would you be so kind as to tell me your stories of tough beauty? You can comment here, post links or email me. kerri [at] mudrain [dot] com. Send photos, and I’ll post them (with your permission, of course.)

Talk pretty to me.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Beauty is Tough

  1. I once sat in the waiting room of the neuro-oncology clinic at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, trying to entertain my grouchy toddler who’d just had blood drawn and was doped up on anti-seizure medication. There was a pre-teen girl sitting across from us, a scarf hiding her bald head and her chemo port peeking out from under her graphic tee. She got down on the floor with my daughter and began playing with her. She looked up at me and said, “What’s wrong with her?” “Brain tumor,” I replied. “Malignant?” she asked. “No, thankfully,” I said. “But she still has to have surgery to remove it.” “Well, that’s good! It’s not malignant!” she said brightly, and resumed playing with Emily. When her name was called for her appointment, she turned to me and said, “She’s going to be fine, you know,” with a reassuring smile. I’ve never forgotten her. That’s some tough beauty for you.

  2. My aunt was dying with cancer. Even though the cancer was taking its toll she was still a beautiful woman. As she lay in her bed one day she looked at her husband and said, “I wish I could bake some cookies.” He helped her to a chair in the kitchen, sat her down and said, “Tell me what to do.” She directed him point by point through the process. When cookie dough “needed” to be licked off his fingers she did it. They talked and laughed and then enjoyed the smell of cookies baking. Something seems tough and beautiful about that.