Snapshot of a Summer Spent Searching for Beauty

“Because from now on, for you, I’ll be searching for those moments of always within never. Beauty, in this world.” ~ from Muriel Barbery’s ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’

Summer has breezed by very quickly.  It was my intention to write a blog post each week of July and August, and I feel badly that I did not follow through on this plan.  Although I did not write regular entries, the summer did present me with lots of opportunities to do creative things, and to reflect on creative ideas.  I had time to read, to cook, to knit, to visit some beautiful places, to admire some of the artwork of Van Gogh and Picasso, and to pursue my interest in music.  I was reminded of the importance of inviting beauty into my life and of making it a priority to spend some time each day immersed in doing something creative.  Here’s a snapshot of how I spent my summer!

At the start of July I went to a music camp, which was a wonderful experience.  Among other things, I played my alto recorder and attended some concerts performed by numerous gifted recorder players.  This camp experience was so inspiring that I decided to join a recorder ensemble and continue playing this fall.  I also participated in a vocal exercise class, sat in on a drawing class, (where I was introduced to working with water colour pencils), and explored the Feldenkrais method.  And I took an Orff Music class, where I was able to reconnect with ideas I learned years back while studying music in
early childhood.  What a reminder this was to find and enjoy a creative path, to be open to new interests, and to take care of my physical health as well.  The camp increased my resolve to learn more about music, to remain open to new experiences (and take a more holistic approach to them) and to find ways to share what I learn.

I also read Muriel Barbery’s, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a simply beautiful novel and one I would recommend for inspiration.  I was very moved by the main characters; they are very sensitive to music, flavours, literature, philosophy, the poetry of language and the simple beauty of flowers, and feel largely misunderstood by those around them. And yet the quiet and thoughtful ways in which they live and contemplate their experiences touches those around them in profound ways.  I was left thinking about the rich inner lives that we all possess and how we are affected by looking at art, by listening to music, by reading poetry, philosophy and good books.  How much do we grow and change because of
such experiences, to what extent is each of us a work of art, and how much of this can others truly see in us?  This book cannot be missed by anyone who wants to feel more awake to beauty in the world.

A last thing I did was to spend some time traveling in northern Ontario, where I saw the spectacular landscape that inspired the Group of Seven.  It was amazing to view lakes and rock formations from the window of the Agawa Canyon train, to hike around the Onaping Falls (on the edge of the Sudbury basin, formed two billion years ago by the impact of a meteorite!), to take loads of pictures, and just to be rejuvenated by nature.  I saw some pretty amazing sites and places that took my breath away – deer roaming around in Gore Bay, a full arc rainbow over Sault Ste. Marie, the archaeological remains of an historic fort on St. Joseph Island, and even admired some water colour paintings on display at the Algoma Gallery ( inspired by the natural beauty of that region.  I could easily have spent many more days in each of the places visited – Manitoulin Island, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Joseph Island and Sudbury, just to have a greater appreciation for its remarkable beauty.

Well, I’m not sure how to make sense of all of this except to say that I feel a bit more in touch with the beauty that is around me, and the potential there is for expressing the beauty that is within me. It has given me much to share with you, and much to think about.  Perhaps you’ll find something here that will be a springboard for some
creative adventures and reflections of your own!

If so, I hope you’ll share them here.

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