I always love these places; overwhelmed as they are by density and detail, which have little to offer in terms of familiar beauty since their form is chaotic and, well, indeterminate. Yet it is in the wonder of the detail, and abundance, and light, and all that bristling energy, that I sometimes am convinced that Beauty is this deeply seated in our consciousness!
In our time Earth Art and Process Art have become important formal ways of looking at things, but when I see something practical, like this pine tree being held up by two poles a local farmer used to support the tree, I think – this is real art,not just that it looks like art, in that it can be seen as beautiful, and it has a real function. Of course it becomes even more beautiful with the red shutters and lovely light and shadow, and the shape of the house, and the feel of the day, and finally, that sweep of the pine tree into the heavens.
We came back after a late-in-the-day walk to find this rugged tomato, just picked from the garden, deposited on our table by our farmer landlord, Silvia, who often brings us whatever is on the vine; squash blossoms, string beans, zucchini, eggplant, new potatoes, onions, figs, grapes, plums, and so on, but this creature sat there looking ugly/beautiful, and that always gets to me. Ugly/beautiful is one of those qualities that the world throws our way in unexpected moments, and when I see it I am reminded of how great the variety of what we call beauty really is.
It suggests a reconsideration of what we think we know about beauty, and our own values. It’s not that this tomato is any kind of paragon of beauty, but simply that it made me pause for just a moment to look at it, and once I paused I saw the light making lines like the tomato’s lines, and then I felt the sweet sentiment of Silvia’s generosity, add to that the lateness of the hour and its color, and what came over me was the plain song of the evening and the goodness of life.
All from stopping to look at an imperfect tomato.