Noticing beauty

It often amazes me (although it really shouldn’t by now) just how wise children can be. My friend told me about how she was playing a game with her seven year old daughter. G was sitting on a cushion on the floor and kept looking at the cushion cover in between turns.

Now, my friend has never really liked this cushion cover. It’s various shades of brown with a splodgy geometric kind of pattern. It is functional but not beautiful. However, after studying the cushion for a while, G looked up and said, “Mummy, this cushion is really beautiful isn’t it?”. Ness didn’t really know how to reply – she couldn’t very well tell her daughter that it’s actually not that nice a cover!

But G continued, “At first, I didn’t think it was very pretty, but if you look really closely at it you can see that it’s really beautiful.”

Isn’t that often the way in life? We quickly scan our surroundings, our homes, our towns, our workplaces, the people we spend time with,  the people we pass on the street. We take in the big picture and make a snap judgement – ugly, beautiful, average. Once the label is in place it’s easy to stop noticing anything more. How often do we pause and take time to actively look for the hidden beauty?

I’m sitting writing this in a B&B in London and I’m looking at the table and chairs in the kitchen.

They’re fine – they’re not to my taste and I wouldn’t choose to have them in my home, but they’re not particularly ugly either. They’re functional and do the job they’re supposed to do.

But take a closer look at the seat of one of the chairs.

Look at the variation in colour, all the same type of wood, yet so many differences! Notice the knots and swirls in the grain, a reminder of the tree this used to be. See the darker flecks that give texture and interest to a pale background. Enjoy the unexpected beauty of a functional piece of furniture!

My challenge to you, and to myself, is to start looking at the world through the eyes of a seven year old wise beyond her years. Slow down as you walk. Pause to study the intricacies of a hedge. Collect a handful of autumn leaves. Notice the structure of a brick. Beauty can be found in unexpected places if only we take the time to discover it.

Autumn treasures gathered on a walk home from school

Tell me about the unexpected beauty you’ve found today – or even better, share a photo of it on my Facebook page. I’d love to see the beauty that’s appeared in your corner of the world!

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