I want to write a book called that eventually. I read a really interesting quote from a modern mystic named Robert Johnson who said that the feminine soul is starved for beauty in the modern world. (This is the soul of each woman, and also the feminine in each man, and the collective Feminine in the world.) I keep mulling it over.
I think that's why I've always loved things like Anne of Green Gables and (recently) Downton Abbey. For awhile I thought it was because I was conservative by nature and I somehow loved modesty. Blech. Lately I've been deciding that's actually not the case. No, the women weren't as free (although the sufferagett movement was already happening), but man, did their souls have access to beauty. The architecture, clothing, aesthetics of those times were both highly developed and highly grounded. Even if you were a poor farmwife (which my women ancestors were), you were surrounded by land and glorious sunrises to help you with morning chores. I have pieces of clothing from over a hundred years ago that I bought for a song in forgotten Wisconsin villages, which I consider such treasures of beauty and works of art that I hang them on my walls. There is nothing that makes my heart beat faster than finding a vintage or antique dress that is visually appealing, fits me pretty well, and was worn by someone long ago who I'll someday get to have a conversation with.
Reading that quote from Robert Johnson gave me permission to seek beauty all the more. We are so, so divorced from natural beauty and the glory of our own souls. It's a time of great external plenty and great inner famine. Today I pulled over by the side of the road and just stared at a stream gurgling under a stone bridge. I wish I could surround myself with the heaven of things like this every minute of the day.
(Ella got in on the theme today instinctively, as she usually does - requested flowers on her cheeks from my eyeliner and created blooming body art herself. Send healing thoughts towards her lip - she bit it while it was numbed for a dentist visit and it's pretty gnarly looking. Ah well. When are healing wounds not part of the picture.)