Seeing Beauty

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it”


I grew up in a suburban Vermont town on Lake Champlain. When I lived there, I couldn’t wait to leave. It felt too small. Too remote. Too culturally and ethnically homogeneous. Too boring. It was all just too familiar. How did I not see it?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to visit his dad in Vermont. We met in high school, so his home town is my home town. We left Boston on a Friday afternoon, along with the rest of the city, and traveled alongside the countless minivans and SUVs of people starting their summer vacations further north. It was a hot and hazy drive. The road opened up and the air became cleaner as we went through New Hampshire. We crossed the border into VT and then it hit me. Oh. My. God. Vermont is BEAUTIFUL. The air was sweet with the smells of grass and trees. The mountains were majestic. I said to my husband, “Wow, the Green Mountain State is so….green!” Idiotic, I know, but somehow I had failed to notice it during the 20-ish years that I lived there. We spent that Saturday hiking Camel’s Hump, which I had attempted years ago, but was not fit enough to do it. This time, I passed the test with flying colors, and was rewarded with a stunning view. That night, we went out to dinner in downtown Burlington, where I relished in the glow of the evening sun against the red brick of the buildings. Lake Champlain sparkled in the sunlight. Sigh…it was beautiful.

Why is it so easy to take for granted the beautiful things around us? Is there something about “home” that makes it that way? Do we need to make more space in our crowded minds to see it?

For over 5 years, we have been making Boston our home. The back yard of our 1-bedroom apartment is actually a large rectangle of pavement, so we built raised beds on top of it and each year, we try to bring more nature into the space. Maybe the comforts of VT stayed with us more than we realized. The reality is, there are a lot of beautiful things in Boston. I ride my bike to work and go for walks during my lunch break, and in the past few months, I’ve made more of an effort to stop, clear my head, and truly appreciate the beauty around me. I love riding my bike over the Charles River on a clear, cool night, when there is little to distract from the city lights that glimmer on the water. I love walking through the nearby community gardens, where I can be amazed by the level of effort, skill, and creativity that has gone into each plot. I love when geese cross the street and stop traffic. I don’t drive in the city, so I can find this adorable. I love that sailboats glide along the river against backdrops of bridges packed with buses, cars, and trains. I love the tranquility of the Boston Public Garden. I love that nature has been nurtured in this otherwise urban environment. I am so enamored with this place that I now carry my camera with me at all times, and I am probably driving my Facebook friends crazy with all of the photos that I post. I just want people to experience the beauty that I see.

I’ve always struggled to find happiness within myself. This lends itself to a certain negativity. Frankly, I’m tired of it, and I’m pretty sure that other people are too. I am finding it so valuable to stop for a moment now and then, and absorb the beauty of this life that I am living before the moment has passed. Maybe someday I will be able to see it in me.



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