“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
After a rather dreadful bout of glandular fever, I’m finally returning to the land of the living.
It is wonderful, I tell you!
Yesterday I pulled on a flannel jacket and went for a walk. Not a bustling walk but a restorative one, one where I could amble at my leisure and soak in the beauty and fresh air of all I’d been missing while curled up in bed.
Much to my delight, I found art. Not the usual art of a human artist, but art formed by the elements on old bits of timber and iron, weathered into something beautiful.
What is it about cracked paint and rusted metal that evokes such a feeling of nostalgia and peace?
Seeing them makes me want to hide away for a while and read old books and watch old movies and drink Earl Grey Tea with honey and milk.
There’s something encouraging about finding beauty in old weathered things. Maybe it’s because we feel so old and weathered sometimes, and it’s nice to be reminded that we’re still useful, still valuable, still worth something.
“A man should hear a little music,
read a little poetry,
and see a fine picture every day of his life,
in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
which God has implanted in the human soul.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I love these words by Goethe. This lovely nudge to notice beauty and take time each day to rest in it, to earnestly, willfully, purposefully find that which reminds us that no matter how bad or painful things get, life is not all darkness, loss, and grief. There is always beauty and light and goodness to be found if we look hard enough.
I don’t mean a silly blinding of ourselves to the genuine hurt and badness in the world – it is there and if we don’t acknowledge it and wrestle with it, we cannot change it. I mean a gentle balancing of the bad with the equally valid and important good.
I’ve been very sick for a long time and it’s going to be that way for a while until my immune system is restored. It is what it is.
Some days it feels like it is my life, but it isn’t.
Yes, the pain is real, the frustration and anxiety are real, the fear, grief, and suffering are real, but there’s also much, much more.
There is my Bear and my dear friends who love me.
I get to recover and restore on our beautiful little farm in Australia, a place of quiet and peace and hammocks and campfires and coffee on the porch and sunsets and walks in the bush and animals that entertain and bookshelves full of stories and movies and music.
Yep, I get to have my weepy moments and my scared ones and it’s totally OK. It really is, because I know I won’t stay weepy and scared. I know that those emotions will pass and even though the illness may be here to stay for a while, there is so much more to my life than it.
I will still love and be loved. Still cook and create and photograph and travel and explore and read and rest and be.
I’ll be OK. And so will you. Whatever you’re going through. You are so much more than “it”. So much more.
Today is my Bear’s birthday and we are celebrating with all sorts of good things to eat. Tonight we’ll have Porterhouse steaks, au gratin potatoes, and garlicky greens with big slabs of Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake for dessert. Then, as we cozy in for a movie night, we’ll be nibbling on these beauties: Maple Spiced Roasted Hazelnuts.
Wishing you a beautiful day, whatever you’re facing. May you find art in your life that cheers your soul and reminds you that there is light in the darkness.
Maple Spice Roasted Hazelnuts
2 cups hazelnuts, shelled
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
1/8 tsp each ground coriander, cumin, ginger, smoked paprika
finely ground sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
- Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet in single layer (use baking paper to limit clean-up).
- Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven but leave oven on.
- While nuts are roasting, in small saucepan combine remaining ingredients and heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Remove from heat.
- Pour roasted nuts into saucepan with sauce and stir to combine.
- Return to baking sheet, sprinkle with more salt if necessary and return to oven for 3-4 minutes.
- Let cool completely before eating as nuts will be very hot.
- Serve at room temperature and store any remaining nuts in airtight container for 1-2 weeks.