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All Things Bright and Beautiful

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the beholder better keep a sharp eye out, because beauty can pop up in the most unexpected places.

Take this lovely pot of flowers: managing to thrive, against all odds, mere inches from New York City’s endless traffic and questionable hot dogs.

It’s easy to see and appreciate the rare and obviously beautiful, like sunsets and supermodels. It takes more attention and mindfulness to notice the small instances of beauty that surround us all the time or that don’t meet our conventional definitions of beauty. (Hey, even the awning over a hot dog cart could be a thing of beauty to a hungry hot dog lover.) But the extra effort is worth it: your experience of the world will be richer and more memorable.

When you travel, it’s easy to be overloaded by the big and obvious beauties (cathedrals! mountains! masterpieces!), but don’t forget to take a closer look at your surroundings while marching dutifully from museum to museum. And if you find yourself in a seemingly “unappealing” part of town, look harder, too; there may be a flower (of the literal or figurative variety) hiding among the expanses of concrete.

There’s a tidy little parallel here for our approach to life in general: Can we find the silver lining in otherwise unpleasant experiences? Can we celebrate the minor successes in addition to the big milestones? Can we be grateful for even the smallest pieces of our lives that bring us little doses of happiness throughout the day?

Today, for example, I appreciated the very pretty flowers on my back porch that have not yet succumbed to my neglect.

It’s not a double rainbow over a sunset, but it’s enough.

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