LeAnne Martin
Beauty and the Beholder

Friday, February 12, 2010

Saying Grace

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” G.K. Chesterton

And, if I may add, "grace before I look at the snow that fell yesterday afternoon." We don't get much snow where I live so when the flakes start falling, this corner of the world tends to stop. It's not the snow that's the problem, of course. It's the ice it leaves behind for the next couple of days. Right now, bright sunlight is coaxing the snow to let go of leaves, branches, and pine needles. Large chunks are falling to the ground. Our neighbor's roof is still covered, though, and the whiteness of it is made brighter, almost blinding, by the sunlight. It's hard to look for long, but then, for this Southern girl, it's hard not to.

What beauty do you see outside your window? Or along your way today?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beauty in Friends

Hello there. I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted until a friend of mine asked me to start up again. (Thanks, Melissa!) It wasn't an intentional omission. My focus has been on the CS Lewis Fellows program (www.cslewisinstitute.org) and other areas of writing and, well, living.

I have another friend who is very ill right now. She, like Melissa and I, adores beauty. All winter long, Nancy deals with bitter cold and snow and long, dark days. She looks forward to spring and to the first hint of lilacs blooming. When she emails that she saw and smelled her first lilac blossom of the season, I can hear the joy and relief in her words.

Inside her cozy home, she creates beautiful art books with intricate folds, gorgeous papers, a well-chosen word here, a little detail there. When she's done, she sometimes gives these beauties of heart and hand to friends who treasure them as well as the person who made them.

When she felt better, she wrote thoughtful, reflective posts for her blog. Her writing required her readers to think about the deeper things of life.

Last June, I met some friends from my writers' group at a fellow member's home in Alaska. Even though Nancy was ill then, she was able to enjoy the trip to the fullest. Like the rest of us, she drank in the beauty of that wild land and took countless photos of the landscape. I remember one time on a cold, drizzly day, she stood looking at the water below and the mountains behind it while the rest of us huddled inside the car. Later that afternoon, she and I stood together under my umbrella and marvelled at a glacier on the side of the road. Another friend took a photo of us, me looking at the glacier, Nancy smiling at the camera.

Earlier last year, she and I went to a famous art museum in her city. We meandered through many of the galleries, lingering with the Impressionists. We chose our favorite paintings and discussed why we liked them so much. At lunch in the noisy, crowded cafe, we talked about art and beauty and writing. It was a short visit, but one I'm glad I made.

Now that she's so sick, she's not able to keep in touch by email or even talk on the phone much. I miss her. I miss her love for beauty and creativity, her emails, and her smile. I wish we could sit around the table with our other friends and share our stories, our writing, our lives. And of course our chocolate. She's never far from my thoughts and prayers. Even though I can't be, I know that the God of beauty--our Lord and Savior--is with her, comforting her and reminding her how very much she is loved.

God bless you, my dear friend.

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