Beauty, Truth. Truth, Beauty | Part Three


Closer. Closer. Closest.Parts one, two and three bring us to the truth, you might say, of this vagabond beauty, wild Forget-Me-Not discovered along Nameless Creek this week.And I will confess, until now I had missed the lesson, knowing only this plant family, with its uncoiling blossoms, pleased me. The AHA! comes from slowing down enough to see the pattern: the grand design in the apparent chaos of rampant growth. This plant displays the Golden Mean, Beauty manifesting Truth.

There is so much to say in this, more than I can find words for before first light on a busy day. But in the end, the lesson from this small flower and a thousand thousand other tiny teachers will be something like this: we need to move from anesthetic knowledge back toward aesthetic wisdom. Truth is more to be found in Beauty than in Efficiency, more needed to save our world than Power or the Knowledge of least things.

Make a point of finding one thing beautiful today.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” ~ John Keats

“Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect misshapes the beauteous forms of things: We murder to dissect.” ~ William Wordsworth

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, you can never have both.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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