When my friend reacted to this sunset photo Friday afternoon, I was so dumbfounded that I didn’t know what to say.
“I always wondered why people take pictures of sunsets, but I guess they’re all different, aren’t they?” he said. “I thought if you’d seen one, you’d pretty much seen them all.”
He might as well have been speaking to me in a language I’d never heard, because nothing about what he was saying made sense. He thought every sunset was alike? But, somehow, looking at this photo I shot Thursday night, he finally noticed that the clouds and sky and color and texture makes everything different? How could someone become an adult and not already realize this?
And then I suddenly realized I was imposing my assumptions on him. I forget that some people don’t see as much, don’t feel as much — don’t experience as much. And it made me long to show those like my friend what they’re missing.
Beauty is infinitely diverse. Every sunset is its own universe. Every tree is a microcosm of all creation and all of life. Isn’t that obvious? How can you see a sunset or a flower or a baby’s face without feeling that you’re having an experience you will never repeat?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that some people are experiencing the world with a much smaller set of tools to evaluate its beauty and majesty. Some people see a home and just experience a pragmatic structure for staying safe from the elements, but some of us experience something of breathtaking organic beauty — something that feeds the soul as well as protecting the body.
Maybe this is why some people buy the most generic, pragmatic “four walls and a roof” which might happen to impress the neighbors, while some of us dream of finding our own Fallingwater experience for life?
Some people paint the world with a small set of emotions, a small set of colors, a small set of ideas about beauty and love. To these people, the world is fairly simple.
Once you’ve seen a pretty sunset, you’ve seen them all.
Once you’ve seen a beach, you’ve seen them all.
Once you’ve seen beautiful design, you might even wonder what the point is.
But that’s not the world I experience. It’s not the world I want to experience.
Every single day is fresh and new in some way. Every leaf and tree branch is unique and beautiful in its own way. Every sunset contains infinite possibilities. Every heart is capable of infinite love if you can just find the key.
Look at the leaves below from my back yard last weekend. They’re perfect. Everything is as Nature intended, from the texture of the body to the intricate network of tiny veins inside which carry moisture and nourishment throughout the entire system. The green is a sensory delight and the overall design is one of nature.
How can anyone and look at this — really look at it — without being astonished to live in a world of such beauty?
There is a lot of ugliness and pain in this world, but it’s primarily one of stunning beauty. I’m in love with the beauty and love and diversity of what Nature created for us to enjoy. I need to experience every day to the fullest. I need to experience every love to the fullest.
No matter how mundane someone else might see a sunset or a flower or a blade of grass, I see the entire universe. I see love. I see the infinite Spirit who created all of it, including us.
I want to drink it all in — and experience all this world has to offer for as long as I can. Otherwise, aren’t you just living the same day or same year over and over again? What’s the point in that?