Photographic snatches of beauty in a fast-paced world.
Life is too swift for words these days. But pictures, I’ve managed a few of those. I’ve caught the following images here and there over the past weeks, snatched them from the river of time and held them a moment in my hand. As I looked, I felt suspended from the bustle of life just for the briefest instant. Beauty, I think, slows time, if you are willing to stop. Beauty weaves quiet about itself, if you are willing to listen. I was. I did. And this is what I found:
Water runs to the sea. Clouds follow. And the leaves turn their last dance to death between them.
I can’t believe I’m posting this. Spiders freeze me to my marrow with fear. But this one, I can’t help myself. It’s actually beautiful.
A new teacup from a friend. The gold pattern and the late light, ah.
A nighttime ramble at a historic house whose gardens were decked out in light sculptures and art. This was a field of poppies, I think. When I was a child, I could spend hours out in the darkened, dappled yards of homes bedecked in Christmas lights. They shadows and stars offered a world between night and day, waking and dreams. I remembered that yen as I walked.
When this masterpiece of a crimson leaf fell out of a heavy old book as I restacked my shelves, I could have cheered. I love the crimsons of autumn on the east coast. Aspen gold is a wealth of its own, but sometimes I miss my reds.
A trail of sun pennies scattered along the plains. I watched them as I flew home from a recent trip and wondered… where might they lead?
And this last picture puts me in mind of Robert Louis Stevenson’s splendid poem The Celestial Surgeon. I’ll leave you with his galvanizing words:
If I have faltered more or less,
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorious morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books, and my food, and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:-
Lord, thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose thou, before that spirit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in!
Sarah Clarkson is an author, blogger, and student of theology at the University of Oxford. She loves books, beauty, and imagination and wants everyone else to understand why they should too. She is the author of Read for the Heart (a guide to children’s literature) and Caught Up in a Story, an exploration of the way that narrative and imagination form a child’s sense of self. She wrote The Lifegiving Home with her mother, Sally Clarkson, and blogs about home, books, Oxford, and beauty at thoroughlyalive.com. When not chasing doctrinal mysteries down in the Bodleian, walking the meadows, or drinking another good cup of coffee, Sarah can be found at home with a good novel in the red-doored English house she shares with her husband, Thomas.