I noticed today that the world is full of beauty.
Despite a stack of papers on my desk, despite the reading I need to do to lecture students on diplomacy in the interwar years and propaganda techniques on racist websites, despite the relentless approach of winter, despite the aggravation of toilet training children, I happened to notice that the world is full of beauty.
I was headed to a cafe for lunch, and crossing a footbridge across a canal I saw a swan in the water. It surprised me, and I looked up. Autumnal gold leaves framed a crystal blue sky, the crispness of the wind blowing in from the sea (which I found so annoying a few hours before) enlivened me, and I thought, ‘The world is full of beauty.’
The realization changed me. The weight of responsibility eased and the constriction of time loosened. I don’t know if this was divine intervention — a gift from God, an answer to a vague prayer — or just a wayward swan. I’ll thank Him anyway.
What’s amazing is how one’s perspective, and maybe one’s life, can change because of a moment of optimism, a quick realization of beauty. I suppose this means I should seek these moments out, as I did for the last two winters when I kept a journal of things that would help me see the world as a good place as a way of combating the darkness of Nordic winter.
Why am I writing this? I’m telling everyone. (I already texted my wife, and I told my class before getting into the writing styles of white supremacists.) You may scoff, you may ignore this and post about something else. It’s just that I’m a few hours ahead of most of you, and I thought some of you would want to know that the world is full of beauty. And you may want to look for it yourself.