One of this earth’s most beautiful aspects is how quietly it offers that beauty. The earth is not eager to call attention to its grace. There’s no ego in it. It also doesn’t have an ulterior motive of marketing. The earth has nothing to prove, nothing to sell. It simply offers up its beauty on a daily basis, leaving it to us to cherish or ignore it.
We’re constantly surrounded by beauty, infused with it, made of it ourselves. There’s so much beauty that only a tiny percentage will make it into our awareness. Yet that tiny percentage is exactly enough. What we’re able to take in fully connects us to the presence of the gorgeous beyond us and within us. It’s immeasurable, essentially infinite.
Some of the deepest beauty I find is in small spaces at my feet, often ignored by others passing by. The more closely I look, the more the infinitesimal becomes beautiful.
I’m reminded of this today by the way a creek is doing watercolor paintings, just before it merges selflessly into the sea. Though many people at shoreline are watching the hypnotically rhythmic waves, no one joins me in wandering along to see what the creek is doing.
The creek is doing abstractions in the details of its art. They’re fractal in their patterns, as the gentle water rearranges the sand underneath it. Yet from a distance, those abstractions blend into being the masterwork of a realist. The levels and layers blend seamlessly. I can only imagine the layers of beauty within it that my limited senses can’t perceive.
Art is communication, and the masterpiece of the creek communicates wisdom, relevant to our own ways of being. It’s relevant to our own artistic expressions, and to how we treat others.
As I’ve aged and settled, I’ve sought to emulate the creek’s way of offering beauty. Words and images such as these are purely an offering of gratitude and healing. I’ve outgrown youthful craving for accomplishment, attention, and other shallow pleasures. It’s enough to simply offer.
To take that offering into all of love’s forms is the earth’s deeper challenge to each of us. In a time too rife with meanness and strife, the best we can offer is our selfless kindness. Let others come along to notice our giving. If we can’t give without a hidden price, an ulterior motive of personal gain, than our love doesn’t have that purity of offering.
Offering love is a moment-by-moment art, as the creek’s art is. It’s a daily practice, imperfect and never finished. I’m not as wise as the earth, not as masterful in my offerings. None of us are. Yet I see that all of us are a reflected part of the earth’s own evolving struggles with mastery. Our imperfections are also the earth’s. We’re merely more tributaries, creating quiet beauty before merging again with the sea.