The Importance of Beauty

We live in a society of measure. Of mirrors and reflections and purposeful glances. We operate by sensing physicality alone, even when made aware of a far deeper context to what is beauty in our lives, in our society. This is an important subject to dwell upon in light of the ugliness we are experiencing in our own country, in the world itself. The idea of glamor far exceeds the recognition of beauty and how it operates in the well-being of ourselves, our friends and family, our planet.

I remember as a young child knowing what beauty was in an innocent mind. I watched Diana Ross on Ed Sullivan, I noticed the screaming young girls at the front of a stage at a concert for the Beatles. I was madly in love with Gidget or Marcia Brady of course. In all those examples I was focusing on their physical attributes, which gave me a foundation as young boy to know what defined beauty in my life. It wasn’t until I watched a dear friend perform her gymnastic composition on parallel bars that I began to know another definition. It wasn’t until I walked home with a school mate, though a couple years older than me, and striking in her glamorous demeanor that I noticed beauty in a different level.

In watching my friend perform I was struck by her commitment to what she loved at the time, an athletic prowess as a young woman, one that allowed her to become a state champion in her abilities. To me that wonderment of effort was beautiful to observe.

Later in life, listening to a friend of the family talk about what is important, as we crossed our familiar bridge on our way home from school, and descended a hill that held our neighborhood. She was teaching lessons as a 12th grader to a 9th grader, how important it was to love yourself before you could love others. In listening to her, I realized there was more than fashionable jeans, a chic style sweater, perfect hair to define the beauty inherent with my friend. She taught me about compassion and that began for me a different focus upon beauty in our lives.

One day as a twelve year old I was getting a ride from my sister to basketball practice. She asked me what was wrong as I slumped in the passenger seat. I told her I was lonely, didn’t know what to do about it. She stopped the car, turned to me and said you have to find a passion in your life. As a twelve year old, I blushed and imagined passion to be something sexual, and I couldn’t believe she was telling me this. She then explained the word passion is not simply about sex, it is about loving what you do, finding something that gives you the ability to believe in yourself because your energy is drawn completely to accentuating your own passion.

That lesson from my sister, the walk with my friend, the athletic prowess of my schoolmate, all of those pieces of my life gave me opportunity to recognize a more holistic approach to understanding beauty in my life.

Certainly as a young man, I was still drawn to the beauty of woman, the wonder of her elegance, in the summertime, the fascination of her stylistic manner of wardrobe on a cold winter’s day, how intriguing it was to know she would be cognizant of a look she wanted to have in the midst of a bustling society. I remember knowing a woman who I watched cross the street one day, wearing a striking rain jacket and green knee high rain boots.

Her image has stayed with me all my life, as did the day she and I were lounging in her apartment, and I commented on her jeans, and she gave me a smile and said she had been wearing them for eight days. I thought that was the coolest thing, her sweet comfort level with her own self image caused me to feel beauty about her person, well beyond a physical characteristic.

I think the deeper context of who we are is often easily forgotten about, put aside, neglected. I have a brother who in his elder life, now sits in an art museum and curates the lovers of a gallery in his home town. We had a chance to visit him one afternoon, and he was so in his element – he knew the history of all the works in the gallery, and his smile radiated as we walked through the rooms. I took his picture afterwards because I wanted to have a record of the beauty that shined from him internally. He looked to be a happy man.

Beauty for me holds a lot of different values. Seeing a band perform live, watching my students reach fruition on the stage with their efforts. Observing a student find their way in a classroom studying a subject they have never understood. Seeing students take chances and risks knowing one another beyond a superficial level. Watching my family evolve as I see my two children continue to strive for happiness in their lives rather than letting hardships discourage them. Having close friends dear to your heart that are there to support you, laugh at your whims, share dialogue and understanding for your own passions.

That word passion comes back every time I struggle. The passion to seek, the passion to address needs of concern, the passion to love. We are a vulnerable lot easily drawn to the pain in our lives rather than seeing the beauty of who we are and accentuating beauty in the lives of those around us. My hope is that the people around me, those I am closest to, can see beauty for what it truly is, to give meaning to what is important, beautiful and eternal in our lives.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

the ‘august’ of my childhood

for I remember when only as a child

I would on a hilltop nearby

cry out my fears alone at the edge of gravel

a pathway held my dreams

and my sanity

for alone I could scream

without being known,

only I might be the wiser

in a world so overthrown

as some confusion,

the medley

of a young boy

nearing his own insanity.

 

for I would then depart that hilltop,

walk the gravel trail,

return to my world,

this sea of humanity,

claiming to know the truth,

by their actions,

those of which I watched

intently,

wishing to find some avenue

a comfort level

would give allowance

to teenage angst rather than a

labeled disorder.

 

for now might be all the decades of time

the traveling monologues

starlit nights,

and golden sunrises,

clouds might give some detailed reminder

of life as it is

meant only to be lived

rather than caught in some constant

scrutiny of why that determines

well-being.

 

My struggles well documented

in the porous fabric of my mind,

tales of which I might

redefine,

in order that some peace of mind,

peace of mind,

peace of mind,

would that I could piece together

this static fame of mind.

 

I am in the ‘august’ of my childhood,

oh such is life that took us

on a roller coaster of emotion,

the different degrees of temptation,

obliteration of dreams,

the calming sea of

finding solace

in the truth

that speaks to that

lonesome road

so often felt

yet clearly denied

for sake of some

sweet symbolic stability.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

There Are These Days

When the right reach

seems just beyond

Instead of knowing

we’d rather

capture

ourselves

in a previous

state of mind.

 

We know the truth

is somewhere

we might call it fond

a memory,

climactic,

some experience

a tangible travail

when once we knew.

 

Seeking sunset splendor

the waiting game

a day of hours

where in the quiet

mindset might

falter upon old witness

the travesty of

human frailty.

 

So now we breathe

the dry air

of  some distant

distraction

creeped in upon our  own

reality,

to suggest

listen to your instincts.

 

Remember when

we could sit for hours

talk about this sixth sense

of knowing,

how long ago,

did that skill,

step into the twilight.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Subconscious Tears

It’s when the moment is gone

we can feel it

drift away

leaving meaning apart,

the concept shared

decidedly forgotten about

an island

a small fortune of nothing

drifting waves

slap our egos

so we look upon that

sunny horizon

and realize

nothing remembered

take a picture

and years from now,

that moment

we will say hello

to a time

when we glanced

upon that memory

means nothing today,

same old mechanical

afterward of

meaning,

we drift away,

we say ok,

we want to fly

away in a simple

good-bye.

Are We All The Same

Do we feel pain

rather simple agony

stepping upon cracks

forgetting  what is civility.

 

Sitting in another quiet

century

last one

got away from me.

 

Wandering in my mind

his heart became

a wonder

just how far our lives –

 

Could we see

the light of day

when the birds own

the world with melody.

 

Might we all see the truth

in love

rather than the pain

in inherent  with difference?

 

Walk away from deceit,

rather knowing life is a feat.

 

The Psychology of the Human Condition

The answers exist,

wait, not today,

perhaps later in the evening,

some cathartic moment,

praying for an epiphany.

 

The heart stops and the mind cannot compete

we are a solid lot of indifference

dependent upon the sunlight,

rainbows strike a nerve

coupled by nostalgia or endearment

to a moment,

the moment

when in that circle of compelling delight

we did experience,

did evolve,

would resolve the questions in our mind.

simple logic, sweet emotions,

beyond the scope of tearing down our own

idyllic beauty.

The Will to Fight

Was a day

would a shadow

be a muse

could satisfy,

ever loom

cast a pall

slow remember

with little why.

~

In a breeze

follow desire

beauty is time

lights a fire

when all

around our lives

seem daunting

love does remain.

~

A source indeed

such is freedom

her spirit

waits …

allow a dream

slow to rise

become manifest

a silent utterance.

~

We do contain such is passion

to love, to want, an embrace.