Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Harsh Beauty

Shenandoah Valley's subtle blue ridges, further softened by fuzzy pines and emerald cedars and rustling deciduous trees, have always brought me inspiration. Patch-worked fields, spotted with the silhouette of cows or drizzled with verdant crop rows, interweave with little burgs and stretches of southerly-facing white farm houses or red barns or even the slow sprawl of various developments to create a cozy area where life simmers. Sometimes it's loud and streaks across the sky like a male cardinal or wild canary; other times, that life surprises you like the waterfall around the bend on a hiking trail.

Often, no matter where we live, the beauties of that place are so mesmerizing that we forget other places hold different, but just as bonny, inspirational views for us. In Meteora, the elegant heights of monasteries on tall, bleak rocks still haunts my mind's eye.  There, too, is the melding of ancient with modern in Athens, Greece; the intricate trails and cityscapes from NYC's Central Park; the simple view from a turret window of birds nestled on a roofline in Cincinnati's Ludlow area; etc. The Mojave desert views, flora, and fauna are far different from Massanutten Mountain's sleek peaks, but no less beautiful. Instead of towering oaks and pines, smaller Joshua trees dotted the landscape, creating an other-worldly feel. Piles of jagged rock mimicked the intermittent cairns that mark rugged trails there. And yucca spikes and scrubby brush whisper tales of the harsh beauty forming from the clash of opposites.

What memories mingle in your mind, friend? Let the beautiful ones overpower the painful ones and inspire a smile today. Then, consider how you can share that experience in a positive way for a positive result.

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