Beauty can quite literally stop you in your tracks, agreed? As a designer, I pay close attention to visual beauty throughout the day: constantly researching, observing, absorbing, and critiquing my surroundings in hopes of improving my craft. (Some of my recent favorites can be found on Ruminate’s “Exceptional Design” Pinterest board.) Often, I feel that I become imbalanced with my extra attention to just one facet of beauty.
Then there are these moments that stun me, catch me off guard, and remind me that beauty approaches us through all of our senses and experiences – often sneaking in and surprising us during the most unexpected of times. Each time I receive content for the next issue of Ruminate, I am reminded of this. I am provided with a collection of perfectly-crafted written beauty, complete in its own right, and am responsible for presenting it to the world visually. There are always moments of pause as I am taken by different phrases. One such verse from Andrew Johnson’s poem, ‘This Expanding Universe’, in Issue 27:
but can we find a way to live beneath this larger kingdom’s roof?
Come, my love, sketch out your plans, let’s share our notes and start again.
Another regular culprit of surprise-attack, soul-stirring beauty is the band Over the Rhine, who introduced me to the phrase, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” (a phrase that continues to challenge). The occasional letters that Linford pens over at the Over the Rhine website deserve an uninterrupted time-out to fully absorb their fullness. His most recent letter on March 17, “Leave the edges wild” continues to be a source of contemplation. I consider it a luxury that, as a designer, I bump into beauty through the variety of projects I work on — Ruminate being a wonderful example of this. That said, because of my potential for imbalance, I continuously strive to create space for fresh experiences.
I truly believe that a concerted effort to “shake up” my day-to-day rhythm allows those unexpected glimpses to sneak in. How do you interact with beauty? How do you react when it strikes you? Do you gather its details somehow — Categorize them? Share them?
What are some ways you make yourself available and open to beauty, whether it’s visual, written, musical, experiential? Do you find yourself coming back to particular sources for these experiences? My hope is that, as a community, we can continue to spur each other on to recognize and appreciate the many pockets in which beauty is found.
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