The Theosophical Forum – March 1938

NATURE STUDIES: X — H. Percy Leonard

Seeing Beauty Everywhere

The man who cannot see the beauty in a moss-rose, a greyhound or a sunset all glorious with purple and gold, must be a man very much immersed in the life of sensation, but it requires a somewhat unusual development to obtain a thrill from a clod of common earth, a stagnant pool, or a toad that sits by its margin.

The awakening of William L. Lathrop to the beauty of Nature's less appreciated side is so interesting in this connexion that it will be profitable to relate it here.

As a young boy, he was returning one evening from his work, when he made a sudden halt in the road, startled by a ravishing glimpse of blue and yellow caught out of the corner of his eye. On the right, beyond the river, was an ordinary bank of mud, and mud he had always supposed was nothing but hideous slime. But there could be no mistake; the thrill of beauty had come from the mud-bank. He looked again and then he saw — the bank of yellow clay streaked with layers of the softest blue, and the blended tints were mirrored back by the glassy surface of the lazy stream.

"But how can mud be beautiful?" he asked himself. From this time he began to study the world around him with eyes that looked for beauty in the most unlikely places — and found it. He came in time to see more charm and interest in a battered old freighter, reddened with rust stains and chafed and dented by the tempest and the wear and tear of dogged toil, than in the freshly painted liner on her maiden voyage. It was the record of honest strife and service that beautified the old hulk, just as the wrinkled face of an old man may sometimes reveal the soul of a hero, whose character and exploits are recorded in his habitual expression.

Since Nature's origin is divine, beauty must be discoverable in all things, but men's faculties are so dulled by sense-pleasures and so blinded by the prejudices of false education that for the most part we pass through life with eyes that never see the loveliness and glow of common things.

Theosophical University Press Online Edition