Must the rough always be made smooth?
Or so it appears in life, or at least with our public facades and selfies.
In art texture with all of its diversities is noted as one of the seven basic elements of art, valued for its smooth and rough, its many values (more about that later).
In truth, if our lives are art, not all of us are shiny slick with unscratched surfaces.
Yes, in one way, our experiences—good and bad—can polish us smooth and refine us with its fires.
Most of us though have been texturized, gouged by life and death, which if we choose, can deepen us, beautify us, in uncommon ways.
Join with me as I discover uncommon beauty.
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There was a time, one I didn’t measure, when the Tulip Tree lost its bloom. Such a short season it seems for it to flower, proving the drawbacks of dramatic and short-lived glory. Spongy white petals streaked with fuchsia lay trampled and tea-stained, and I shake my head in wonder where the time went.
On this evening walk around our circle drive, my promenade is awash in dusk grays and powder pink. So easily caught up in this woodland, I’m usually looking up into the curving lines of tree limbs, whispering my prayers of praise. Tonight though my wandering gaze takes a directed focus, completely off my path.
A flicker of light, then two, land on a thin tree. A nondescript tree I never see. Possibly because it stands under the shadows of the diva Magnolia Tulip Tree, a fiery Japanese Maple, two lilac Redbuds and Dogwoods–pink and white. And if it weren’t for this mere glimmer of light in flight, my eyes might have missed it all.
With careful approach, I find a surreal tree, one in which its smooth bark is moving, as though alive. This tree once invisible is amassed inch by inch with moths. Moths! Not the bothersome wisps that melt between our fingers, the ones we loathe for eating holes in our favorite shirts, (FYI–their larvae is the real culprit).
No, these are hummingbird-sized masses arrayed like colorful stained-glass designs, creating a life-sized kaleidoscope. A beautiful beauty. One I must examine in part and in whole to become a true observer of its lovely forms.
For it seems these moths, moths, mind you, paper shards of mosaics in flight, are bedded down, or, should I say, tree-trunked down, for the night. Who can say: Are they in mid-passage like the great Monarchs? Are they a flutter like one of the four generations flying south to Mexico? Or the one generation returning in its northeastern flight?
And why is it this flutter of moths chose this property, this tree, in which to pause on their sweet passage, startling this stranger, leaving me awestruck in their trek?
This leads me to ask: If a kaleidoscope is nothing more than a circle of mirrors with my single eye focusing in one end and an expanse of light filtering through the other, does that mean all of the colored flecks in between are mine alone to appreciate? Each distinctive with each twist and turn at my beckoning. For all I see in these ever changing patterns, does it guarantee you’ll see them too?
Or is it too unfathomable, causing us each to catch our own personal mirrored segments briefly, only to forget our breathless wonder after the next turn?
Consider this: What if we let our fragmented pieces blend together and prompt us, coerce us, in their momentary power, to seek out more viewings till the end of our days?
I impress upon you, had I continued my walk with eyes only focused on a prescribed end, rather than expanding it to the landscape around me, those moths would have fluttered away without my awe. Wasn’t it in my searching I found them? Wasn’t it in my desire to reach past myself and be possessed in God’s wonder I connected with their flight?
For when I’m searching, when you’re searching, we can find beauty in the roughest parts of our lives. Some trace back and forth, present time with the long ago, to offer a future strengthening of my frail frame and yours with fibrous threads weaving rich days throughout.
For if life is an art, even when one dwells undetected by the masses, isn’t it still a life? A still life worth drawing upon with purpose that somehow affects generations to come?
So it is in gathering my own shattered pieces I create a mosaic victory worth your review in my tales of life and love and loss and healing and mending.
Join me these next few months by gathering your life pieces in part and in whole—broken shards and all, to create your kaleidoscopic victory worth review. I pray you’ll discover we’re on more than a sunset stroll, we’re still on the journey.