Accepting Beauty Where it Comes


I find that beauty comes to us often unbidden and unexpected, that beauty affects us in ways alien and strange.

A reflection on one such surprising beauty:

I love the pitch, the hardened tar of night, the delineated void between the perceptible curbs, grass, and sidewalks. I love the lamps, the sacrifice of the day; it is only at night that darkness is perceptible. The light of day illuminates, distorting the darkness, making it somehow other. Constantly shifting movements of air create, really cast, darkness as never solid, always changing position and intensity. But not so night. Night is the glory of the dark where light intrudes. Lamps are the means of preserving the day in the night. Often, writers describe the “cool” effect of lamps at night as they cast “pools” of radiance. This is a lie. Lamps in the night are alien; thus, the light shone forth into night is an intrusion and, to maintain the ground gained, must hold stern and irreproachable barriers. Lamps do not glimmer, do not waver, do not partake of any of the life of the light of day. Night it is which is alive at night, as alive in its constancy as the daylight is in its; each is the spirit of its medium.

What, then, is there to love in such a time, to hold for such an entity? I love the night as I love the day. Writers again say that the night conceals. Not so. Day and night both reveal, the revelation of each pertaining to the qualities essentially ascribable to each. Day reveals all, all that is, all that moves, all that breathes and has breath. Night reveals all, all that is in us, all that moves in us, all that we breathe and each breath we have. The day draws us to other things, the night to ourselves. To walk a darkened street is to tread on one’s own soul; as the feet move, the lungs breathe, the heart pumps, each is made manifest by the lack of other sensation. So the eyes must focus where they may. Only two arenas are present, and both are oft inaccessible by day. Soul is one, eyes glazing, mind focusing inward. The soul, neither light nor dark, day nor night, but a glimmer of what has been done and been thought and been and what might be done and be thought and be. Heavens are the other, eyes uplifted, long-trained reflex opening wide to gather the light. The heavens, dark with light, days in the night, but glimmers of farther stars, each as grand as the light of the day, stretching forth rays of what has been and been thought and been, beyond us, and what might be done and be thought and be, beyond us, the mind of the covenant of God.

For it is for the love of myself and the love of God that I love the night.