I took this picture off my balcony following my walk home from school in what some may call a mini hurricane.
However, to a Hat Yai resident, this was just a typical Tuesday.
It’s rainy season, “rainy” being the understatement of the century. Despite being soaking wet, I couldn’t help but pause and take a moment to appreciate the beautiful view unfolding at my (muddy) feet.
I believe it is a natural inclination to be attracted to beauty; however, I also believe that much of beauty has been poisoned by terms and conditions.
I think this comes from our society’s adoption of consumerism to such extents that even beauty is considered an asset, instead of being cherished and experienced.
I imagine this is why I often find myself lost in the awe of nature’s beauty. It is a beauty that cannot be possessed. I cannot buy a sunset, not yet at least, and I cannot take the ocean air home with me.
I am forced to be present, to simply appreciate the moment of beauty that nature bestows upon me.
I speculate it is this failure to be possessed which permits nature’s radiance to never be dulled.
I believe that beauty does not simply rest in the presence of the eyes. It is nature’s untamable freedom that takes my breath away. I imagine nature’s failure to be possessed spares her of man’s greed; and perhaps consequently, spares humanity of man’s greed—at least slightly.
Greed is cruel to both its host and its victim. Nature cannot be possessed; therefore, it cannot be consumed. The weather cannot be enslaved, and the ocean cannot be commanded.
Nature cannot be silenced.
I believe human beings often assume we will be closer to greatness or beauty if we are able to consume it, or own it, or command it—perhaps, this is the root of the abundant exploitation that exists in our world. I cannot say for sure.
Regardless, consuming beauty does not necessarily translate to this beauty becoming an extension of our self. I wonder if the extension of self we actually achieve through this process is not the beauty, which we anticipate, but a bi-product of beauty’s destruction for our own consumption.
To pick a flower, you have to kill it first.
What a blessing, there is beauty that exists which cannot be bought.
By assigning a value to anything, you are obligated to judge it. Beauty that is not measured is thus not constrained by the dimensions designed to celebrate it. Therefore, this beauty has the capacity to be infinite.
I think back to a painting hanging on the wall of a restaurant where I worked. The bartender there was an artist. His paintings were displayed in the restaurant and were mostly scenes from around the area.
The piece imprinted in my memory, and perhaps my heart, captured the street I had been living on. I remember getting lost within it, not only because of how aesthetically pleasing it was, but because when I looked at it, I was transported there.
From my perspective, it was breathtaking. I could feel the life in it, and it made me feel more alive.
I am not an art critic; in fact, my knowledge of what makes art “good” or “bad” is extremely limited. I am not sure it is something I am inclined to learn, particularly, if it requires enlisting pre-requisites to filter beauty.
In my opinion, art is so subjective that I cannot fathom how one confidently contains it within concepts as concrete as ‘”good’” or “bad.” It seems like a waste to try.
What a waste to subjugate beauty within our worldly constraints. Stripped of these constraints, beauty is infinite.
This is profound beauty, beauty that dances with the soul and sets the body on fire. Being able to experience infinite, deep beauty, this is really living.
So get outside, take a breath, live, appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Appreciate all the things you don’t have.
Author: Lauren Cali Crosen
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Courtesy of the Author