I found a website published by the European Space Agency. Among many excellent things, it has a gallery of images of earth, taken from space. (All of the images in this post are downloaded from that site with their permission.) Links are provided toward the end of this post.
I love the patterns in these pictures. They show me that nature builds patterns upon patterns in the biggest and smallest ways. It seems…well… kind of perfect.
You know how Steve Jobs told Apple to make circuit boards that were beautiful, even if no one was looking inside the computers? Well, nature is like that also. I love it that such beauty has been out there for billions of years when no one could even see it. I love it that the beauty we now can see from way up there has the same patterns as the beauty we have always been able to see down here.
Before there was life, there was beauty. I have this fantasy that beauty called to consciousness…”I’m here. Come see me.” That’s a creation story for you. At least it was like this: When the first breath was taken, beauty was already here to call to our senses. Just like the wind made seed pods and wings… it helped to make us who we are.
I know I said this in an earlier post but there is a book called “Deep Survival”. It studies the question of why some people survive when others do not. Let’s say someone gets caught in a rock slide. He amputates his leg with his pocketknife and hops 15 miles down a glacier at 10 degrees below zero to safety. How is this person different from someone who has ample water, and food and fuel, and who has survival training, and two good legs, and help nearby, who decides to sit down and die? Here’s one difference. According to the book, every survivor says the same thing. “I saw moments of incredible beauty.”
That same book said that a child under the age of seven is more likely to survive alone in the woods than an older child. Because of instinct. Little ones feel what they feel…. hungry…scared…cold… but they don’t abstract from there to the concepts that arise in an older person. So when they take action, it’s directed to the fact of the matter and not to an idea about it. They don’t over-think and complicate. They don’t waffle. They don’t waste precious energy or time or motion. When they are tired they sleep. When they are cold, they crawl into a hollow spot.
I think beauty is a call to instinct…to the things we all know without knowing why. It helps in a deep and wordless way. It is one of the ways to nourish our souls, to give us hope and energy, to guide our direction, to keep us from giving up. It moves us out of our heads and into the complete and integrated equipment that we all receive when we get a body… and that equipment is very fine… our minds, eyes, hearts, senses, guts, breath… all honed through millennia, all in one body… all in one life. I would say we are perfect, also.
It's almost the New Year, and time for resolutions. A resolution means a lot of things: a decree, a promise, a resolve, a solution, or the power with which something can be seen.
I’ve been thinking that this will be my resolution. I’ll practice seeing in all the ways that humans are able to see… like for hunting, shopping, working, loving, resting, drinking in. Seeing with my whole body. Seeing for a short moment. Seeing and breathing together. Seeing right now.
Sometimes I’ll see beauty.
I know there is more beauty in the height and depth of the universe than I will ever see, and everything large and small is made with beauty. I trust all the things working together to make beauty without my even knowing about it.
I can spend some time each day, let the sand blow without interference… just observe and let things happen…let nature work her patterns in my life.
The European Space Agency is generous to allow use of many of their images for noncommercial purposes. All of the images in this post came from their site.
To go to their "Earth from Space" gallery, go to: http://spaceinimages.esa.int/content/search?SearchText=IOW&img=1 or click here.
To go to their home page, go to: http://www.esa.int/ESA, or click here.
Here are more pictures. Excuse me for getting carried away. There are so many good ones, I couldn't choose.