Seeing Beauty

Beauty in ordinary objects can be easily overlooked. You can’t see subtleties from a galloping horse; you have to take up the reins and slow your soul down.


Much can be learned from ordinary objects and “ordinary” people, but seeing the beauty in both requires a closer look. There is a thing that I call “the art of seeing”. Some folks have it by nature, while others acquire this pleasant ability by way of desire, seeking a better understanding of the details around them.

I spent much of my early childhood with my grandfather, and he was a man of details. It wasn’t always so, however. Earlier in life, he was a confirmed workaholic. When I came along, he was well into retirement and had given himself over to enjoying life. The attention to detail that he had given to work changed directions. For a few years, I was the only grandchild out of his only child and he put meat on the words ‘doting grand parent’. I was his mission field, so to speak, and it as from him that I learned many early “life” lessons, including the art of seeing.

From ferns to fossils, from horses to hard truths, and from catfish to cottontails, Grampa taught me that accumulating an understanding of small things is no small thing. Included in the package, quite by accident I think, is a deep and abiding fondness for beauty in everyday things…found feathers, the look and feel of smooth pebbles underfoot in a creek, a Meadowlark’s nest in the sagebrush. In a similar fashion, old things have stories; sometimes their history is obvious, while some vintage goodies forever keep their secrets.

Yet another virtue can be picked up on this path by stepping into the picture and becoming interactive. As a child, I marveled at the result of saving the combings from my hairbrush and my horse’s currycomb, then winding the tangled mess onto a pasture fence. The birds already knew the value of looking for and discovering everyday treasures. To later find a nest lined with my horse’s hair mingled with my own was, to me, a thrilling miracle. From lessons such as these, I was hooked for life.

Sometimes in the midst of adult busyness, we lose the time to or the willingness to linger and “marvel” as children do. Children easily find delight in small wonders. It is a virtue we can reclaim by way of simple willingness to be small again. There, at eye level, the little things are big again and the gift of marveling returns, fresh as a daisy. Wandering into wonderland and seeing beauty in ordinary things is free and as easy as walking out of an ordinary door.

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  1. Bambi says:

    Thank you, Shery, for your wise words this morning. It is my day off from work and your words reminded me of a field trip in the country that I have wanted to do for quite some time and had forgotten about. Today is the day!! Thank you so much and God Bless.

  2. TJ says:

    I love nature. I love rocks, their color textures. I love watching turd rollers, lady bugs. You find a lot of enjoyment if you stop and see, really see the fine things around you. Even in the city you can find small things of wonder.

  3. Terces says:

    WOW, I have only recently started receiving all the blogs and find myself so appreciating all the sharing. We live on 21 acres and are currently in a yurt with an outdoor bath house, outdoor kitchen and a composting toilet. We gather around the fire each morning for breakfast, the crew and my husband and I and again at lunch and once more for supper. I always find myself marveling at the simplest of things. Morning dew, fire heat, hummingbirds, flowers…and yet due to our city life, where we are the owners of 6 restaurants (all use the produce we grow on the farm), so many people ask me "do you like living this simply?" … I notice I NEVER ask myself that question, instead I find myself often asking, "what was it that sent us all indoors?" Thanks for putting beautiful words to such dear things in life. I am starting to save the hair from my brush TODAY! Gratefully, Terces

  4. carol branum says:

    Hi Sherry,Don’t you feel sorry for people that haven’t figured this all out yet? I do. I have been extremely blessed to of had parents that taught me all about nature, and a grandmother who put wild lettuce on her ham sandwiches, and made us sassafras tea to drink. Our home was filled with a library of books about nature, books on trees, mushrooms, birds etc. .We also received magazines like Rodale’s Organic Gardening, Mother Earth News and National Geographic. We still refer to our library after 50 years. I have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you for your blog, have a great day blessed be. Carol Branum, Lamar MO. themofarmersdaughter@blogspot.com

  5. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    You are so right about this and good to remind us! One thing I love about getting out of the ‘burbs is seeing the SKY, which (along with a good beach) is my favorite, endlessly changing thing to look at.

  6. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Shery, I can picture you out on the plains, riding easily along with a knowing smile on your face; saying hello to nature. What a wonderful thought. I don’t have a horse now but I travel the paths by foot and you’re right, I am a child, the child that is inside us all. I love to watch earthworms wriggling in the fresh earth. I see eagles and hawks everyday and thank God for his autograph. Thanks for reminding all of us to really "see".
    Bonnie

  7. Reba says:

    I appreciate the words of wisdom. I love nature, especially in the mountains. My family and I are nature lovers and relationship lovers, the things that last. Have a blessed day.

  8. Debbie says:

    How true your words are! I am a seer…as is my mother, mother in law, my husband and our two home schooled children. Beauty is everywhere! How is it that so many folks have stopped seeing? It is those of us who see and appreciate that must bring this to light for others…I’m a high desert girl (transplanted in America’s home town) and I love seeing the rustic western photo’s on your blog…I can smell the sage if I look long enough! Thanks for shining bright from the Ranch!
    Debbie

  9. This is such a beautiful gift that was given to you be your grandfather, this is one of the reasons we make it a point to include our family in almost everything.
    I really have enjoyed reading your blog! I hope that you have a very Blessed Holiday Season.
    -Amy

  10. Mary Ann says:

    Beautiful photos, such beautiful photos. The red combo (holidayish) and the all white-ish of the winter pony, faded window, barbed wire and lamb. It is always a good time to become small again, to pay attention, but this time of year more than any other.

  11. Shannon says:

    I so enjoy your posts! They make me miss my ‘cowgirl’ days of riding and feeling the wind in my hair. I look forward to more of your posts and wish you many blessings this holiday season.

  12. Laurel says:

    Thanks for sharing the memories of your grandfather. It brought to mind my father. I was a urban girl all my life. But Daddy would come home and tell of the things he found or saw that day. Such as a pond hidden in the middle of the city (small city). I remember I was walking to High School one day and down along the creek were herons, walking along the creek bed. Here it was first thing in the morning and I could hardly wait to tell Dad. When he got home from work I told him of my find. He was excited for me. Seeing and sharing has been a part of my life for ever. Thank you Dad for starting me on this adventure. And thank you for stirring this memory.

    Happy Holidays, Laurel

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