Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What is real?

What is real in this world? Is beauty real? Is grace? Nothing is inherently beautiful unless we ascribe it with that quality. Everything simply exists. A flower has colour; it has shape. Its leaves may hold a dewdrop; its petals may brighten under the rays of the sun. It is beautiful because we love it. Even a wild colt running free in a meadow without the presence of anyone’s gaze – it is beautiful because we see its image in our minds. We love its wild abandon and grace. We love it, and, on some level, yearn to be it.

The last lines of Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” have always puzzled and delighted me:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

In a world where truth is increasingly amorphous and elusive, wouldn’t it be far more reassuring to know that beauty exists independent of our perceptions, our imaginations, our emotional baggage? Perhaps, but both truth and beauty are still real to us, have power over us. We seek both, yearn for both. We may never be able to fully articulate why we find something such as a snowflake falling silently or a brilliant burst of buttercups in a meadow beautiful; however, we know that these things make our hearts skip a beat, take our breath away, or make us smile and feel blessed. We just know, and, indeed, it is all we need to know.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that poem from high-school! I want to see some more photographs of the north. Please?