The Cost of Beauty
With an excess of wealth, one can afford the uselessness of finer things. It helps that this uselessness signals to everyone else just how much you can afford. Rich or poor, however, there is one splendid reality that confronts us all every single day and gives the lie to the idea that beautiful things must be expensive. Every morning the sky shows its face, smiling simply in bright blues or flirting coyly in wisps of white. Sometimes it downright sulks in gloomy greys, or blasts its anger in overwhelming tempest blacks.
Every morning, I write my gratitude. Lest I offend my disgruntled waking eyes, only one small desk lamp illumines the leather chair in my office. I begin by writing the date in Shaeffer red with a fountain pen that I have dedicated to this color. Then I write at least one paragraph in sepia, beginning with the words "I am grateful for..."
Receptivity to Beauty
In order for experience to happen, there must be a certain receptivity in the soul. This receptivity requires stillness and silence, watching and waiting. We cannot hear a friend while we are talking. Nor can we hear a friend when we are are silent but only in the manner of those impatiently waiting their chance to speak. We must first undergo a basic conversion of soul.
Onion and Crouton Soup
Like a perfectly crafted onion and crouton soup, culture is a constantly refined tradition. Culture is natural to man because human nature *is to cultivate*, in all the senses of that word's root, the Latin word *colo*: to till the soil, to reap the fruits, to inhabit the same estate generation after generation, to devote oneself to the perfecting of something beautiful, to worship. Man is the cultural animal. We are *Homo Colens*.
In Defense of Loveliness
The partisans of lost culture are quick to praise the big ideals: Beauty, Goodness, Nobility, Virtue. Such ideals win wars, and rightly so. But loveliness deserves its own praise.