November 24, 2014

Savage Beauty


Evening skies have been breathtakingly beautiful recently. Just before and after the sun sets... still air, temperatures just this side of cold...pink, complex color that glows and fades and induces moodiness and melancholy...impossible to capture; impossible to escape, impossible to resist.


 Painful beauty

 Yes. So beautiful it hurts, fall is.  In a way that spring, summer and winter are not,  I think.



 I read a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay not long ago, SAVAGE BEAUTY by Nancy Milford (here). The title of the book is based on a passage from her poem  

ASSAULT

I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.

I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage beauty, suffer me to pass,
That I am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!


Truth be told, despite reading the book not all that long ago,  I remember very little to nothing about her life, or her poetry.  


 Just an abiding impression of this concept of 


painful beauty...


 ....and now an abiding backdrop to all my thoughts as I walk and inhale the autumn air.


 I am one who looks down when she walks... not out into the distance, ahead or across the way. Perhaps this accounts for my poor sense of direction, and my often missing the larger forest for the smaller tree.


I attribute this to having needed glasses when I was five or six...in the first grade...but not getting them until the fourth.  (Such things can go perhaps understandably unnoticed in a very large family in the midst of great upheaval and stress.) 


 Consequently, there seemed no point to looking at the horizon or the street sign or the left or right turn. All a big blur,  the blur to the north looking not unlike the blur to the south. 


But MY the world of beauty in a single leaf or acorn held in the hand and inspected carefully...up close and in great detail... a truly wondrous thing. 


Even now,  I can barely pass up the perfect leaf or pod, making leafy tussle-mussies and bouquets as I walk and gather.  Always looking down for the next treasure at my feet...still scarcely believing


that such beauty is there for the taking.  Later, when glasses were to be had and vision restored, I experienced that universal, collective miracle that all severely myopic sufferers experience when they
try on their glasses for the first time...


the sheer wonder of seeing those individual leaves on the distant tree. An obvious connection, between the individual frame...


and the larger story that marvels me still.




4 comments:

  1. So beautiful and the perfectly painted word picture :)

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  2. Thank you Janice. Happy Thanksgiving, dear!

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  3. Beautifully written and the photos are stunning. When you live in a forest like I do, you don't really get to see a sunrise or sunset. I am coming up to Edmond for the day (Friday). I will wave as I drive by. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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