The Beauty Always There

Autumn alights on my kitchen table as neighborhood children unload this gift of leaves.  We configure the apparatus:  one leaf, a white sheet of paper, and a broken crayon stripped of its packaging. 

Leaf Rubbings on an Autumn Evening

We smooth the crayon against the clean page.  As if by magic, the unseen leaf appears.

The children hold their breath, amazed.  One of them looks at her paper and then up at me.  She exclaims, “We didn’t even need the Internet to do this!”

My youngest is overcome with the impossibility of it–a crayon pressed to her page reveals a pattern that’s there but could not previously be seen. 

All night I press my mind against this event.  The leaf represented a reality we couldn’t see but that made itself evident when we rubbed against it.  Was I encountering a truly beautiful thing in that moment, the kind of beauty philosophers pause for, the kind of beauty that poets claim can break your heart (and repair it)?  

It’s always there, underneath.

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0 Responses

  1. I couldn't help but laugh at your daughter's comment. What difference a few years make.

    I haven't made a leaf rubbing in over a decade. Maybe I should change that.

  2. I think I will keep this leave analogy for the days when I have to embrace the uncertain, take a new road. Even as I am scared I should remember that just by looking at a blank page nothing will happen. It's taking action that makes the “invisible” appear. Our actions and our choices help our dreams materialize, add physicality to what was perceived before as miracles.

    I am falling in love with your blog and the way you find the right words to express what I frequently feel.

  3. I do this every fall with my family too.

    P.S. I blogged during Stat class – it's up, I'm still editing but I need help with the title (I forgot the idea you mentioned) and any thoughts on what I'm missing?

    Thanks so much for listening 🙂

  4. I must second Aysel. I had forgotten all about these rubbings which I did as a child; and now, this post and this comment remind me to always be aware of what/Who is always there though unseen.

  5. “We didn't even need the Internet to do this!” Now that is a great line! Yes,there is much beauty to uncover once we begin to get involved and “rub” against each other.

  6. Heather, you are not at all crazy! What makes it beautiful is the sentiment behind it.

    That is what makes a photo.

    Breaking and healing simultaneously. This is powerful.