Beauty . . . is everywhere!

I often jokingly say . . .

“Beauty is in the eyelids of the beholder.”

There is an element of truth in this. It suggests that the world is sometimes such an ugly, offensive place, we must resort to projecting within our mind’s eye an imagined reality, creating a beauty that’s not really there but meets our craving for visual delight.

I just returned from three weeks in Scandinavia, the fulfillment of a lifelong yearning to see this unique part of the world.

A few of those days were spent in Norway, and I am convinced that it may be the most beautiful country in the world. The photo at the head of this blog is the Geirangerfjord, which is indescribable __ even the above picture can’t begin to capture the breathtaking majesty of this phenomenal place.

Since my return home, I’ve introduced into my routine something new. I’ve started to climb a small mountain __ maybe 1100 feet __ three times a week.

Besides improving my stamina, it has also resulted in a profound epiphany.

This is the view from the top . . .

If you have a good arm, you could throw a rock and hit my house from up here. It is less than 3/4 of a mile from my doorstep to the trail head and only takes a few minutes to get there on my bike.

Here are some other highlights of the hike, which takes about an hour round trip.

Getting back to the epiphany . . .

When I was in Africa working for a number of NGOs, we would visit various local organizations which were giving much-needed help to area residents. This is a photo from a visit to an AIDS/HIV orphanage.

Like the other 120 children there, this little girl was HIV positive. In this region __ the poorest, most-backward sub-county in Uganda __ that is a death sentence.  This lovely, innocent child is probably dead now.  She took a special liking to me, was so giggly and full of life at the time, full of the blind optimism of youth.

It’s heartbreaking to think about.

In any case, on my official visits, I was usually asked to sign an organization’s guest book. On one of my walks up the mountain the other morning, I remembered what I used to always write above my signature . . .

“There is beauty everywhere.”

In the midst of the worst squalor and unconscionable living conditions, immersed in the uncertainty and despair of the most hopeless situations, one can find beauty.

Though I’m glad I did, I didn’t have to fly 5,200 miles for a view that would take my breath away after all.

It was right down the street.

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