Sunday, June 1, 2008
Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth
I woke this morning in my sisters house. The guest bedroom has two walls with large picture windows: each about 6' by 10' I'd guess. The curtains were pulled so I woke with the sun and through one window I could see the lights of Nelson still shining in the dawn light across Tasman Bay. Through the other, looking out towards the Abel Tasman National Park, the sun was rising, outrageously red because, apparently, of some eruption in Chile. I didn't raise my head from the pillow. I didn't dash to get my camera. I've taken just such sunrises from just this spot many many times before and I know now it will be completely different, though just as beautiful tomorrow morning. I have long since given up any hope of truly capturing it; I've only got a camera, after all.
I tell people my sister owns the best view in New Zealand, and therefore, the best in the world, which of course is hyperbole. Comparing views is like comparing songs: it's all a matter of taste. This one would be hard to beat though. From Te Hiwi, Val's house, you can see a sweep from Adele Island and the Abel Tasman, across Tasman Bay to D'Urville Island and French Pass, around to Nelson and beyond to the Richmond mountains. On a clear day, Mt. Taranaki is just visible, peeping out of the sea to the north. Wander across to the other deck and there is a domestic view across the fishpond and through the trees to the huge garden my brother in law Michael has painstakingly and skillfully sculpted around the hillside and further, out to the woodlands beyond. Below is the Kaiteriteri campground - just close enough for people watching but far enough away to insulate noise. There are boats in the bay, and tuis in the trees and an ever changing pattern of clouds above. At night the air is clear and in the ink black sky you can see exactly why the milky way is so named. It is healing just to see it all.
Somebody in one of the comments on this blog mentioned the Fibonacci sequence: an odd set of numbers that crops up again and again in the universe, and which has a complete, settled, peacefulness about it. (see also, Alden Smith's account of it here) Paintings and photographs and sculptures based on this sequence look beautiful, restful, whole. Why this sequence? No-one knows, other than that it is one more piece of evidence of the wholeness and order of the universe. Beauty is not entirely in the eye of the beholder; our appreciation of beauty is a deeper than reason response to some of the patterning which is all around us, and by which we ourselves are constructed. Keats is right.
Beauty IS truth. Truth, beauty.