Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness


Elizabeth and I reclined in our adirondacks when a butterfly fluttered by. Coffee-with-cream colored, soft as dryer lint, scattering as platelets of dust through air when a window shade is drawn, it careened around the sharp brick corner of our home and lighted upon a garden plant. Spring is here. We, however, will not be here long. 

I walked the new homeowners around our property this week. It is good to know them - a younger couple who have purchased their first home. I found myself telling stories, smiling: "We planted this garden seven years ago. These are new boards that border the raised soil beds. Non-treated lumber, you know? So the chemicals don't seep..." 

"Beauty is the promise of happiness," quipped Stendhal. At our bests, our creations reveal our highest aspirations, our truest selves. Gardens. Shelves of books. Vineyards. We invest them with our hopes that life can be good and beautiful. They mirror our hopes back to us.

We create and our creations end up creating us. Alain de Botton occupies my mind: "We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need - but are at constant risk of forgetting we need - within." 

We planted that garden so that we could grow into it. 

Before Elizabeth awakened on this Mother's Day morning, Seth and I read in my study. The scene was picture perfect, from the lighting to the stacks of liquor boxes that held my books, to the deer mount that rests upon them. Father and son on Mother's Day, together. Elizabeth has given this to me, to us. I reached for my phone to capture this moment, only to realize I had no idea where the damn thing is. So, I noticed the moment. Again. And, Again. Instagram cannot bear the weight of this moment. 

Beauty is the promise of happiness. Beauty speaks. It tells me what I love. Whom I hope to become. It holds me. Accountable. Incessant reminder of who I am, truly.

Dostoevsky wrote that beauty will save the world. Surely, beauty will save the soul that notices beauty in the world. 

My, God. Beauty is the promise of happiness.

Tommy Brown1 Comment