Monday, September 24, 2012

Beautiful Things

This month started out as my aspirational art month, but as you know my plans took a sharp left turn. I stood in the shower this morning and thought about what I was going to write and realized maybe I wasn't as far off track as I feared.

Maybe I'd just been using too narrow a definition for aspirational art. Opera and Oscar-nominated films are all very well, but there are different kinds of art that have the capacity to lift us up.

Up and down the halls of the hospital where I spent too much time last week, the walls are covered with art. And sometimes, when I was leaving or arriving or just searching for a bathroom, I stopped and gazed at those pictures. Something as basic as beauty has the power to pull me out of the moment and take me somewhere else.

Vistas, rooms with views and flowers can be transformative. Words, both the kind ones I've received from my friends close at hand and the well wishes from people all over the world, my ghostly internet and blogger friends who feel more and more real; those words can be a thing of beauty too, another art form.

Child #1 attended Montessori preschool and one of the things I learned during her sejour there (aside from the fact I was paying WAY too much for her to explore her tactile love of rolling on the carpet) is people thrive in beautiful surroundings.

So this is my thank you to everyone who's helped to make my environment more beautiful, with your words, flowers, smiles and hugs (both virtual and real).

This weekend, in the moments in between, I've been climbing into the attic and pillaging my fall box in search of things to make my home look beautiful. Fall flower arrangements and mantles decorated with gourds may not seem important, but like good friends, paintings on walls and lovely music, they make our environment a little more joyous.

And maybe, each of those things is its own special form of aspirational art, helping us thrive in its own particular way.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you were able to find some beauty among the turmoil of last week.

Connie J Jasperson said...

Johanna - you are a strong woman, and the ability to find beauty in the small things in the midst of pain is essential to a happy life.

This part of the journey is the hard part: adult children watching their parents endure the indignities of old-age and being unable to do more than alleviate some of the pain.

We are here for you on this side-trip through the 'rough neighborhood' which your life has taken. You've always been there for us with words of comfort when times were hard.

Barbara Watson said...

Surrounding ourselves with beauty is key to our frame of mind -- at least I think so. It's one of the reasons I cannot sit around in my pj's all day with messy hair. Not that I'm saying I'm beautiful when fully dressed and have make-up on, but it helps me *feel* put together and that I'm ready to conquer the day.

And I'm so glad that surrounding yourself with simply and beautiful things brings you to a different place. Continuing to think of you...

Angela Cothran said...

Art makes me happy. If it doesn't add some value to my life it isn't art to me :)

Scarlett said...

A wonderful message, Johanna!

Beauty really does rest in unexpected places. Especially in the joy a child receives from rolling upon a rather expensive carpet.

One foot in front of the other. Healing energy be yours.


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I'm sorry you had a hard week, but I'm glad you were still able to find some beauty during it.
Take care. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

This is survivor mentality--finding beauty when things are rough.
~ Wendy

Anne Gallagher said...

I hope everything is getting better for you.

One of the downfalls of my new house is the walls are plaster not sheetrock, so I have to really really think about where I'm going to hang all my artwork and pics. Frustrating to the max.

Joanne Noragon said...

Good for you, making your home more lovely for all who live and visit. Life goes ahead; make it lovely.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Alex.

Connie, it is hard but I feel lucky to be able to be there.

Thanks Barbara, I'm not a PJ all day kinda girl either. And thanks for your kind words.

Angela, absolutely.

Scarlett, THANK YOU!

Rachel, I'll take the joy of beauty wherever I can get it.

Wendy, I like the phrase Survivor Mentality.

Anne, ugh, I feel your frustration.

Joanne, absolutely. Life keeps moving forward.

Emily R. King said...

Finding things of beauty that are also bits of sentiment is part of the fun of having a home. I love your fall flowers!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A little decoration always makes me feel better.

Anonymous said...

You're right about one thing: sometimes I wonder if I'm paying too much for Montessori. Time will tell.

T. L. Cooper said...

Sometimes beauty is the moment we live in. It isn't necessary the beauty we choose.Sometimes it is the moment that makes a smile in the midst of turmoil or heartache. It's the moment that reminds us of why we persevere when we feel completely out of control of our own lives. It is the moment that reminds of the beauty inherent in those we love that fills our hearts with joy. That kind of beauty is the art of life and love!
Wishing you and your family all the best! Hugs!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I am glad you were able to find beauty even in such stressful surroundings. I hope things are getting better for you and your family.

Gina Gao said...

I'm sorry to hear that you had a hard week. I really hope that things get better and you find the strength to carry on.

M Pax said...

Beautiful things are definitely uplifting.