149. Unexpected Beauty (Aesthetics 8)

cup of tea

When I manage to get out into my tiny garden I expect to encounter beautiful things. I know there will be sky and green, flowers and insects. Most of the photographs in this blog are taken outside. But I am less expectant of finding loveliness indoors. Everything is so familiar and unchanging, and with finite possibilities. But from time to time a small thing will cause me to catch my breath in wonder, and the more I challenge my own seeing (as writing this blog has helped me, and I hope, you, to do) the more often it happens. A small rainbow circle on the wall from the light refracting through the spyhole in the front door. The pinkness of my cat’s nose. The colours in my pastel boxes, waiting to be unleashed on unsuspecting paper. The love in my husband’s eyes. And this photo, which is of tea in a glass cup, a beautiful thing.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

148. Convention (Aesthetics 7)

rain rose

At some point we encounter a rose covered in raindrops, or a photo of a kitten catching snowflakes on its tiny nose, and we feel programmed to acknowledge this as beauty, as pleasing, which indeed it is. But the problem with convention is that it goes straight to the brain and bypasses the eyes of the heart, in much the same way as clichés do in language. A poem full of phrases we’ve heard many times before is unlikely to move us, to engage our emotions. Boredom is a terrible human invention, and familiarity (to use a cliché) does indeed breed contempt.

So what must we do when there is a rose covered in raindrops before us? We must see it with new eyes. Does our heart say it is lovely, and does it give us joy? Is it a meeting with beauty? Can we see something fresh and new here? Can we know for ourselves, the loveliness of each new rose?

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

147. Tree Lace (Aesthetics 6)

Tree lace (aesthetics)

When the branches of the trees are all bare like this, and you look upwards into the intricate patterns, it almost seems like the skeletal forms are reaching out for one another in a Sistine Chapel vision that would be worthy of Michelangelo. Connections with art inform our sense of appreciation, and the interlacing of these trees against the blue sky, and probably under the ground too, is also part of the world’s beautiful connecting.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

146. Dandelion Clock (Aesthetics 5)

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The sense of wonder we have already spoken of continues to inform all the other ways of seeing, and perceiving beauty, finding something aesthetically pleasing, is no exception. How perfect is the sphere of a dandelion clock, and how symmetrical and yet tiny, a little planet of starbursts! These are plucked up swiftly by most gardeners, knowing how hard the plant is to remove, but for me they are globes of soft wishes, and delightful to look at.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

145. Not Knowing (Aesthetics 4)

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Sometimes we find something beautiful without really knowing why, and that is okay. Our inner seeing is often hard to articulate, and it is good to be lost for words. This is one photo I took which I love, but which I can’t (and don’t want to) analyse. It’s just beautiful. Something about it holds together right and pleases me. As with many other areas of our spirituality, often we need to accept that we don’t know, and that this is just a normal part of life.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

144. Decay (Aesthetics 3)

decay

The Japanese have a helpful term, wabi sabi, which means the beauty possible within imperfect things, even difficult things, like death. There is a strange beauty that we can see if we train ourselves to do so, in the processes of dying and decay. Sometimes these things are just ugly, it’s true, and I don’t think there’s much point in denying that.

In mysticism we learn that everything belongs, but that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant, either to go through or to watch. But just occasionally, there is a pattern or a juxtaposition that our inner eye can point to as lovely, even as the cross can somehow be when we gaze upon it.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

143. Spiral (Aesthetics 2)

spiral

Those of you who have been reading my work for a long time will know that if I have a spiritual connection with any animal, it is with the humble snail. They contain soft and hard, vulnerability teamed with resilience, patience and the ability to turn my patio into a shimmering ice rink of silver trails. The spirals they carry everywhere with them are symbols of infinity, and these shapes seem utterly perfect to me. DNA forms itself into spirals, and many astrophysicists now think the universe is shaped like one too.   Imagine carrying a tiny universe on your back!

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

142. Weed (Aesthetics 1)

weed

When we think of beauty, we are programmed to think of symmetry and perfection, to rate certain face shapes, body sizes, over others. There even seems to be a hierarchy of plants. Think for instance, what the first flower is that comes to mind when you want one that is aesthetically pleasing, and you are more than likely to come up with a rose, or an orchid. But there are a great number of beautiful weeds, too, like these lady’s slippers growing in my lawn, just as there are beautiful people who don’t fit the stereotypes. We need to develop wiser eyes, and challenge the automatic paths we think along.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

141. Heavenly (Light conclusions)

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Everything is illuminated. This becomes more obvious to those with eyes to see, by the presence of the Light of the World. The light within creation and scripture rises up to greet with a kiss, his living presence within us. We can only witness this if we are truly paying attention. Light everywhere teaches us about the reflection of the divine nature contained within all created things and beings, and shows us that almost anything can be deemed beautiful.

The interplay of shadows and light, of dark and bright, of colour and shade, is a divine dance all around us. Delineation keeps us from wandering out of the cosmos of experience entirely, and holds all things in place. Sometimes the light dazzles, creates awe and splendour, other times it is subtle and soft. But always it enables a deeper seeing.

Next, we shall be looking at the way aesthetics enables our spiritual sight.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

140. Indoor Rainbow (Light 13)

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God’s promises hold fast indoors as well as in the heavens, and his spectrum of love is both clearly divisible into the named colours we are so familiar with, and yet so full of nuances and gradation, that all of the wavelengths are inseparably necessary in creating the whole.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017