Now that the vernal equinox has taken place, it is officially spring. This means, of course, that it is time for those exotic and mysterious creatures I enjoy so much, the nymphs, to emerge from their winter sleep. Finally, after a long winter, we can once again enjoy the beauty of these creatures.
Yes, the return of spring, and all its warmth and various beauty is quite delightful!
January is the worst month of the year: it is cold, dark and with little to look forward to, except the foreboding, icy depths of a long winter. At least in December you can anticipate and celebrate Christmas; February is a short month and leads into March, which, in many places, is when spring begins to really stir.
Now, we are still in the depths of winter, and there is plenty of cold and ice still to come, but February, at least for me, is a lot easier to bear than January.
So here is to saying goodbye to the worst month of the year, January, and looking forward to the fact that the warmth of spring is now one month closer!
Now that we are in the depths of January, it is good to remember that even winter possesses its own kind of beauty. Yes, it is cold and icy, and now that the happy joy and light of Christmas and New Year’s have passes, it seems there is nothing to look forward to until spring, which seems quite far off. Still, even in the darkest days of winter we can find beauty.
The above photo is quite nice, a stunning juxtaposition of a woman’s soft warmth enclosed within an exotic world of cold and ice. The forces of winter often bring strange and difficult changes in our environment. They do not last though, at least until the next ice age descends upon us.
Now, the ice princess is often a difficult creature to deal with, but we must work with what winter gives us…
There is so much hatred and ugliness in the world. Sometimes it is overwhelming. One cannot read any news these days without being bombarded with stories of the most sickening kind of violence. Where do we find peace, hope and love? Where do we find true beauty in the midst of so much depravity? This is a question for each individual to answer.
For me, I have once again found comfort in spirituality, in faith and belief in God. I have lived long enough to know what life is like without faith, and what life is like with faith. And, despite the numerous difficulties that necessarily go along with such beliefs, the life of faith is better.
Often I have extolled physical beauty: a beautiful landscape, a beautiful work of art, a beautiful woman. These are all important manifestations of God’s presence in our world. And yet there is another kind of beauty, an internal beauty that comes with faith. We can see this sometimes in others, we can feel their inner beauty refining the atmosphere about us, like a cool ocean breeze that softens the brutal intensity of a summer sun. Perhaps their faith is completely different from ours; and yet we feel something that is good in them, and we know that this goodness is a reflection of the eternal God. In the end, it is all a deep mystery.
Prayer is the gateway to such experiences. As Pope John Paul II used to say, “Without prayer we can do nothing”. Through prayer we can reach another world, a world unseen, but a world that is still as beautiful, if not more, than the physical world surrounding us. It is a different kind of beauty. It is a beauty that is lasting, untouched by corruption, free from the stains of violence and ugliness. It is beauty that stretches throughout space and time, reaching as far back into history as possible, and traveling far beyond the limits of the universe and into eternity. Our understanding can only hope to grasp one small part of this, and yet this one small part is so immense and profound that we could spend every waking moment contemplating it, and never come to any real or concrete understanding of its true essence. And yet the more we contemplate such beauty, the more we thirst for a deeper draught.
As the great St. Augustine said, “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new!”
Now we seem to live in a world which seems utterly devoid of prayer and faith in anything except whatever thrills the latest technological advancement brings. What is ugly and what is bizarre seem to be what are most valued. The iron laws of nature are ignored and we believe that we can declare ourselves to be whatever we want to be. And in those parts of the world where religious faith is strong, there seems to be a deep sickness and madness overcoming many. We live in strange times. Many of us wonder what is becoming of the world.
But in the end we remain, as Socrates once described us, “featherless bipeds”. Whether we like it or not, and no matter how much we may want to imagine otherwise or try to change what nature has ordained, or how much we are dazzled by our own cleverness and power, we are still creatures of this earth, dependent upon the earth, our fates completely intertwined with the natural world around us, and there is nothing we can ever do to change that. This is the way it has been since the first humans emerged from Africa 100,000 years ago, and this is the way it will remain until the end the time. In this age of technological wizardry and massive state controlled systems of life, it is important to remember just how quickly that technology can vanish, how industry, governments and even civilization itself could suddenly crumble, whether through natural or man made disasters, and how quickly we could return to being utterly dependent on ourselves, upon what we and grow from the earth or find through hunting for our survival. We ignore all this at our own peril.
And yet in all the difficulties of life, faith remains. Prayer remains. Our need for and belief in God remains. It is and always has been part of our human condition, despite the modern Western world’s best efforts to ignore this. And with faith and prayer there is beauty, a beauty that also provides the strength and sustenance to help us endure the vicissitudes of our everyday world, and perhaps that is the most powerful kind of beauty of all.
May is a wonderful month of the year. It is probably my favorite month. There is much beauty to be enjoyed during these days of Spring, and as the sun continues to grow stronger and the days longer, hope seems to abound everywhere.
Sometimes the world seems so dark, and God knows that all the nonsense that goes on today strains my mind, but there are certain things that can bring us a little bit of peace, and one of those things is the eternal vision of beauty.
May and the warmth of May is a good time for such visions.
April showers bring May flowers. Yes, this is true. The next three months are my favorite of year. This a beautiful time, and beauty can be found all around us, even in the rain. And when it rains, it is important to remember that rain leads to good things, especially to the abundance of joy that nature loves to create at this time of the year.
Now that Spring has finally arrived, we can begin to celebrate one of the great gifts of nature: the Spring nymphs. These lovely creatures have been away all winter–where, I do not know, no one does, except that it must be some magic place we know nothing about.
Here are three lovely dryads, or wood nymphs. I am not sure who was fortunate enough to photograph them, and I hope the person escaped their presence without harm. It is always risky to encounter nymphs, whether in the woods, or on the mountains, or rivers, seas or oceans. Nymphs inhabit all these and many other places, enticing and alluring men to either pleasures or pains, depending on the whim of the nymph. Most people don’t believe in nymphs, but I can tell you, from personal experience, as well as the long traditions of tales stretching back to ancient Greece, and Greek mythology, that they do exist, and that they can bring great joy or great pain to your life.
Should we forgo the mysteries of the forests simply because of the dangers of nymphs? No, the dangers only make the pleasures later to be experienced that much more intense. And if you have never happened upon a nymph, or two, or three or more, you should not despair. If you enjoy and explore the beauties of nature, you may do so one day. Further, even if you never meet a nymphs, just the awareness of their presence in our world should uplift your soul into the more rapturous realms of beauty, which is where such divine beings always dwell.
Whatever the case, it is time to enjoy all the beauties and pleasures of Spring!
Blue is my favorite color and this photo is filled with luscious blues. One of the things I enjoy about the tropics are all the different shades of blue that seem to infuse the environment. There is the celestial blue of the sky and the marine blue of the ocean and all types of blue in between, whether it be the light, happy turquoise painted on the many stuccoed buildings, the dappled teal painted on the many exotic birds, or the lovely azure painted deep within the eyes of someone you love.
Yes, the tropical world contains many types of stunning blue beauties…
May is my favorite month of the year. It is the true beginning of the perpetual warmth of spring and summer, and the flowering of so much beauty. It is a time of optimism. The days are still getting longer and the sun warmer and warmer, without the oppressive heat that often accompanies the peak of summer. In short, May seems like a month of ideal beauty. And this is only the first day of the month!