By Eugene H Peterson
“He had no form or comeliness
that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.”
A whiff. A beagle for beauty I sniffed
Monet’s haystacks, Van Gogh’s sunflowers,
Devoutly meditated Marilyn’s breasts,
Watched kingfishers -- lost the scent.
Kiss the lepers wound: taste honey.
Touch the blind eye: learn Braille.
Keep vigil at the cradle: change diapers.
Drink tears from the chalice: live Eucharist.
Happened on found things, found in gutters,
Found on across, found under a stone,
Heard in the rustling grass, heard in
A tongue stammering sabacthani.
Found when I wasn’t looking, heard
When I wasn’t listening. Found beauty.
Welcome friends, I am so delighted to have you join me here in my little cyber space part of the world! I've always been a bit of a collector, a magpie of sparkly intrigues, and I've always loved to share things I'm excited about so I'm very much looking forward to sharing the beautiful and interesting treasures I'm discovering. The Beagle For Beauty newsletter has been birthed!
You can see in the above where my eager beagle image derives its name in this wonderful poem of Eugene Peterson's. This image of a beagle getting latched onto a scent and hunting down it's origins until the source is discovered struck me and has stuck with me ever since reading it, it has pursued me throughout my creative journey and served as a core thought as to what it is that drives me - to sniff out and track down the beauty in life, and often this comes from the most broken places.
So here are my ten offerings this month:--
1. Creating: my still life 'Autumn Harvest' (above) featuring some wonderfully foraged fruit from the Bluecrown Passion flower. It's fruit is beautiful to look at but quite bland to taste, I did try it. These gorgeous deep red seeds remind me of a pomegranate. The flower on this fruitful lovely is stunning also.
2. Listening to: Valses Poeticos: Vales Sentimental by Albert Guinovart, so cinematic and uplifting. This album, The Sacred Veil by Eric Whitacre was one of those which stopped me in my tracks of passive streaming and caused me to down tools and just drink, very beautiful and haunting and a powerful story behind it. This track was the arresting piece.
3. Watching: I found myself quite emotional during the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher. So many thoughts from this not least that we can rejoin the rhythms of our world if we'll take the time to go diving.
4. Watching: David Attenborough's latest documentary A Life On Our Planet, his witness statement as he calls it, a testimony to the changes he's seen on this planet in the span of his 70+ year career. This went hand-in-hand I found with My Octopus Teacher and although I can't agree with all of David's beliefs about our origins or the solutions to our ills his witness statement is powerful picture of the way we have exploited this gift of a planet and an undeniable warning to turn the ship before it's too late.
5. Growing: I wrote last month about our need for a guide at times, this led me to take the plunge in signing up for Paul Scanlon's monthly mentorship group and in addition his Self-Awareness Made Simple course. Both are proving to be the best investment into myself as a human and a communicator in recent years. Self-Awareness Made Simple sale ends today!
6. Reading: Keep Going by Austin Kleon. This is the third book I've read of Austin's, so very encouraging not only as a creative person but as a human being. This has harmoniously worked alongside Jaron Lanier's message.
7. Reading: The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch. Leading into a conference talk I did this week on 'Tips To Staying Anchored Offline In An Online World' this message was incredibly affirming, insightful, practical and honest!
8. Reading Aloud: My 15yo son and I are really enjoying this series by author Maryrose Wood. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. You're never too old to read aloud.
9. Baking: If you haven't yet discovered Sally's Baking Addiction you really are in for a treat. I baked these for my bible study friends last week (had to drive them a delivery down due to Covid restrictions) but we all enjoyed this over FaceTime and our walk through the book of Luke, see pic below.
10. Following: I am stealing like an artist from the author of such coined phrase Austin Kleon. His newsletters are always intriguing and full of interesting bits and bobs, and a bonus is that they're short!
There you have it folks, I hope you find the above interesting with something to enrich, educate or simply enjoy. I found it hard to keep to ten and am planning my November treats already!
The BFB newsletter is part of my way to keep connected online outside of social media, a meeting place where we get to be more personal and linger longer, to enjoy each other's company.
So friends, I have hit the ball out to you with this delivery today, how can you hit the ball back in your part of this conversation? Let me know your thoughts or comments, drop me a line anytime, what have you been enjoying this month?
And finally, an experimental composition I did a couple of weeks back with roses and water, along the theme of Beside the Stream. A lighter edit and exposure than I usually go for but I was feeling it and was inspired by Nick Knight. Gosh his work is STUNNING, and with this recommendation have I broken my limit of only sharing ten beautiful things?!
And lastly, some snaps from our daily life here in London:
1: I made my own mask. 2: Lunch with a friend. 3: Mastermind is a fave nightly game.
4: Autumn walks with Alba. 5: Speaking for the CHESS conference. 6: My new mouse mat with my photography and the quote.
7: Pumpkin Spice Crumble Muffins. 8: Quiche. 9: The evil squirrel digging and dining on my precious tulip bulbs!
With love and blessings until next time,