A child understands beauty. Isn’t that amazing?! How does it happen that people everywhere have an aesthetic sense? What is this universal, human need to make the world “beautiful”? If it’s “instinct,” what evolutionary purpose does it serve? If it’s not, then perhaps it is evidence of The Divine.
A family of five, the Bakers, moved in next door a few weeks ago. Yesterday, four-year old Anne Marie sat next to me on the deck overlooking our backyard. As usual, Valerie was under the maple trees, working at her potting bench, ministering to the plants – cleaning them up, finding the best place for each of them. Anne Marie asked why Valerie spends so much time in the garden, and I said it was because she likes to make things beautiful. The child nodded her understanding.
Awhile later, she asked to see the inside of our house, so I followed her around as she walked into a space that is dimensionally identical to the house next door, but decorated differently. “Your house is so beautiful,” she said.Try to imagine humans who have no esthetic sensibility. Impossible. Aren’t we fortunate that life can be made satisfying by rearranging three dimensional objects, making sounds, writing words that resonate as beautiful.
Here’s the final stanza of Yeats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn,
|When old age shall this generation waste,|
|Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe|
|Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,|
|‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all|
|Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’|