I met a strange man in the park today. He looked like this:
I saw him again a little later in the park, looking like this:
But perhaps my strangest encounter with this stoic park man was two metres up on a plastic climbing wall, as he stared me down balefully, his eye as bleak as the winter sky over Blaney:
Gee that was bleak. I feel I need some adventure to cheer me, or at least something bright. How about… a lovely garden?
Yeah, that’s nice.
I have a theory that what we deem beautiful falls into a few distinct categories. One is a beautiful person, a person in whom we can see potential, whether that be potential for growth or because we wouldn’t mind procreating with that person (so a biological function). The second reason is a place, a home, or a person we find safe and secure. The world is a merciless place; sanctuary is naturally beautiful. The third, and I think this beauty is the one most attributed to a deity, is the beauty of something which can kill you, but isn’t right at this moment. A landscape, a poisonous dart frog, a canyon. We attribute the beauty of these things to a higher power – we want to imbue them with a higher power. But our eye is drawn to them because of the potential for danger they contain. Clouds can be beautiful, but they can warn you of changing winds, they can flood you or freeze you, they can be a warning of an oncoming storm.
But they are beautiful, at least when they’re not trying to kill you.