Out to dinner in the village last night, Mid the experience, which was lovely, my vision is drawn to a couple, dressed in full wedding attire, striding past the window. The ‘bride’, how do I put this, not a vision of beauty , marches ahead, dress hitched up and with the groom following behind. Odd. Odder still was their plonking themselves at a table close by. The dishevelled bride is clearly worse for wear, in every way, and ravenous, the groom engrossed with his phone. It’s burgers and fries in the wedding dress, No, no, and no again as we all think, and all a stare. There is no glamour here, no beauty, no passion and no mystery. As they tuck into the grub, the tiara falls off and the veil thrust onto a chair and I am thinking, dear Lord, what happened to the beautiful?
Found it today. A morning spent with tulips. Bed upon bed of beauty. Short lived, these blooms are symbols of art in their colour, their shape and their ability to captivate. There are over 5,500 types of tulips in the world today. Each waits beneath the cold earth in winter to push upwards and perform in their finest days. Icons in the renaissance of season and I could put that horrible vision far from my mind. It’s the mystery you see.
Better still, the afternoon was shared with Johannes Vermeer in a documentary of ‘The girl with the Pearl earring.’ For over four hundred years the identity of this woman remains a mystery, and in that lies the beauty. It does not matter that we have no name, but that we have a painting that engages, that takes our breath away and we are seduced by the artistry of someone, living so long ago, that could capture the wetness of her eyes, her lips and make us want to know more about her. It is the mystery in her look that draws us in. To think that someone was able to harness the mastery in paint that transcends the normal and yet holds our imagination still. That is beauty. That is the mysterious.
We have become creatures of modern times when all is out there. Social media and global living leaves us so tuned in, so up to date, so exposed to the baseness of it all. Nothing is sacred in its mystery anymore. All is instant, doable, current and frankly, sad. We no longer wonder what lies under the sea, or up in the stars. We know everything and if we don’t, we Google. Then we do.
There are times though, when we just shouldn’t . Go back to wonder. It has always been tough to get through life, so what am I saying here? I did not like the frankness of the experience last night, and have to remind myself all the time that it’s about the moments of intangible experiences that really matters.
I will never paint like Vermeer. I will never know the identity of the girl with the beautiful pearl earring – or why tulips are so beautiful, why some can capture life in art and not me, but I will always choose wonder, be enthralled by the mysterious.
Call me a dreamer – guilty as charged. Saturday spent with the girl with the pearl earring. It is her mystery that seduces me, the mystery of why tulips are so beautiful and the mystery of what is, and can be, that keeps me thinking that the love of it all, is worth it.