"Beauty and Its Possibilities" by Rita G. Patel“Beauty and Its Possibilities” by Rita Patel

The architect Christopher Alexander tells this story in The Timeless Way of Building:

I once saw a simple fish pond in a Japanese village which was perhaps eternal.

A farmer made it for his farm. The pond was a simple rectangle, about 6 feet wide, and 8 feet long; opening off a little irrigation stream. At one end, a bush of flowers hung over the water. At the other end, under the water, was a circle of wood, its top perhaps 12 inches below the surface of the water. In the pond there were eight great ancient carp, each maybe 18 inches long, orange, gold, purple, and black: the oldest one had been there eighty years. The eight fish swam, slowly, slowly, in circles—often within the wooden circle. The whole world was in that pond. Every day the farmer sat by it for a few minutes. I was there only one day and I sat by it all afternoon. Even now, I cannot think about it without tears. Those ancient fish had been swimming, slowly, in that pond for eighty years. It was so true to the nature of the fish, and flowers, and the water, and the farmers, that it had sustained itself for all that time, endlessly repeating, always different. There is no degree of wholeness or reality which can be reached beyond that simple pond.

Not only is the description both vivid and beautiful — conjuring up a lovely image — but the emotion from actually seeing and being with this beauty in nature is profoundly powerful.

If I am open, moments where I can deeply see, feel, and be are available in all sorts of so-called common places and interactions. And what happens is that I don’t just observe with my senses and my mind, but I commune with the beauty of it in my heart — that is where it happens, where I actually feel it. The feeling doesn’t stay but the feeling about other things afterwards is always affected. And the more I experience this beauty the more I realize that it does not disappear but is always present. Available to connect to when I am available. A wonderful thing to wake up and remember and make a habit.

“Radiance belongs to being considered precisely as beautiful; it is, in being, that which catches the eye, or the ear, or the mind, and makes us want to perceive it again.”
~Etienne Gilson


Rita G. PatelRita G. Patel is an artist, chef, and business consultant living in Rochester, Michigan. You can read more of her writing at Beauty’s Invitation and see her artwork at 365 Days of Print.

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I know it was used in accordance with a long standing religious/philosophical connotation but being an analyst I always become uncomfortable when I read sentences like,"...I commune with the beauty of it in my heart..." If "heart" was replaced by "spirit" I would say this piece affected mine. http://www.thelastwhy.ca/poems...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment Doug. Reading your comment, I understand better how I am using language.

Beautiful! Beauty is everywhere & is always available to us. The only thing we need to see, appreciate, and even commune with it is to open our eyes & open our hearts...

That fish was too old, it's great to see a living creature living since the day that I was born, actually I haven't seen one before. They've take good care of that fish for eighty years, what a great job.

I can deeply see, feel, and be are available in all sorts of so-called common places and interactions. And what happens is that I don’t just observe with my senses and my mind.

Very nicely written article. The story about the fish that is narrated at the beginning is truly very eloquent. I enjoyed reading it, and your comments on it.

Beautiful! Beauty is everywhere & is always available to us.

It's simple little moments in life like this that let you realize just how beautiful this world is. The trick is being able to take yourself out of this world to realize it. Awesome article.

Great Article Rita! I enjoyed the story about the pond. Very lovely. Thank you so much for sharing!

This is a very beautiful article. I enjoy this story. Beauty is everywhere & always available to us. Thanks to your post.

Thank you Rita I really enjoy your article, "beauty is always present" love it :)