Last month my husband and I braved the great midwestern heat wave and drought of 2012 to go camping. We had the entire campground to ourselves. As it turned out, it rained both evenings and we were witness to achingly beautiful combinations of scenery and weather. We sat on the shore of Table Rock Lake watching a storm retreat as night fell.
Tired from a day of kayaking, I laid my head back on my chair and watched the clouds swirl around in the sky. The unsettled weather caused different layers of clouds to slide past each other and the colors were mingling and overlapping. Very subtle, mind you. But there were shades of mauve, cream, slate gray, and puffy white clouds. Patches of cerulean blue peeked through because somewhere up there the skies were clear and the sun was setting. The wind whipped the waves against the shore, filling the air with cool spray and you could still feel the day’s heat radiating off the rocks. I remarked to Gary that it would be great to capture this moment, this feeling. But that a camera could never do it. You could paint it, I suppose. But I then wondered if another viewer would feel this same moment when they looked at the painting? The answer is, of course, that each of us perceives our own interpretation of experiences. We all see and feel things, including beauty, differently. And we concluded that moments like this just have to be lived. That’s when I became acutely aware of the silence all around me.
The storm earlier had chased the boats off the lake. Nobody was in the campground but us. The swimmers at the day use area had long gone home. I wondered if anyone else was seeing this sky, this moment? Or were they all inside their brightly lit homes, cabins and lodges happily preparing dinner and watching TV? Well if they were, they missed this moment. And then a part of me ached for every moment that I’ve missed. There’s so much beauty that we don’t ever see! Just as those clouds were there above everyone, whether they saw them or not, beauty is all around us. Are we looking for it? Will we miss it?