I’m often astonished by the sheer beauty of the physical world. Last weekend, for instance, my husband and I went hiking in the hills near our house in upstate New York. At one turn in the path, we found spread out before us a beautiful little lake: rocky shores crowned with evergreens reflected in clear, untroubled water. Then two hawks flew lazily overhead, riding the thermals. It was a perfectly lovely composition.
At times (not always, but often) our human endeavors create a different but still compelling kind of beauty. The skyline of New York can be breathtaking. Watching the hammers hit the strings inside a piano is a neat yet complex mechanical choreography, an engaging counterpoint to the music being produced.
Today a friend sent me this wonderful little video of commercial flight paths around the world over a 24-hour period. (If you view it full-screen, and high quality – click the little ‘cog’ in the lower right-hand corner, you can see the daylight moving across the world, too.)
The little yellow dots are like a dance of airplanes; they flow in one direction, then, as the world turns and day becomes night in a different part of the world, they flow in another. I don’t know exactly why I’m so charmed by this. Maybe it’s because I love the idea that we sometimes create beauty without intentional effort – and sometimes even in spite of ourselves.
And maybe it’s simply that I enjoy finding beauty, and I like being surprised by its existence in unexpected places.