Rare Beauty

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different…” – C.S. Lewis

Digging into my backup drives and discovering images I shot years ago is such a delight. Especially since Springtime here in the high desert doesn’t come close to being as lush and verdant as my old stomping grounds in Washington.

This image was taken in The Bishops Garden, a magical place nestled next to the Washington Cathedral that was very close to where I lived. A part of me still haunts a particular bench located beneath a glorious conifer where I meditated a few mornings every week.

So much has changed in my life since this photograph was taken. In some ways I feel I’m a entirely different woman. After completely uprooting myself–first moving to the midwest to help my mother through an illness and then to Santa Fe, New Mexico, then up to Taos, and then back again to Santa Fe–it’s clear to me that following one’s heart isn’t always the easiest path to choose. Tracking the footsteps of wonder includes getting lost and being scared. But choosing this path has, time and time again, led me into the extraordinary. And tracing my story back along the road that brought me here has a way of changing and deepening its meaning.

Beauty is everywhere, and none of it is rare. Our ability to pay attention to beauty and answer its call is what seems so scarce today. The world offers itself up to anyone with an open heart and the key is a willingness to receive and to share. The ordinary dogwood stretching its arms toward the sun in the corner of your front yard is just as worthy of bowing down and worshipping as the most spectacular sunset New Mexico has to offer.

And just like the dogwood, we all have gifts to offer.

What is your beauty? What are the rare blessings will you bring to a world aching to hold you?

Photo Credits:  The Bishop’s Dogwood, Washington, DC, © 2008, all rights reserved

Technical: Canon 70D | 50mm (EF 50mm F1.4 USM) | 1/1600 sec at f1.4 | ISO 200

Susan J. Preston is a designer specializing in digital strategy, branding and web development. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and can often be found hiking the foothills with her springer spaniel mix, Sir Whimsy Bacon. Her design work can be viewed at Clearly Presentable.