The Autumn leaves are gorgeous. I noticed them in all of their unique fiery glory this morning while I was walking. I want to collect them – pick them up and take them home, but I know that they won’t look as nice after a day or two. They look better outside. Each day offers a fresh beauty. In a month I will admire the bare branches stark against the sky. In two months, perhaps snow. Nature is always offering me her best face. I see beauty everywhere. Yet it is a beauty that is impossible to hold onto.
Human beauty is like that too. The leaves had me thinking about myself while I walked, about my body image. I tend to focus on some time before or after now as a time that I have been or will be more attractive than now. I was very proud of my body as a young woman. After having children I worried that my breast sagged too much, or that I was too heavy. I wanted my pre-baby body back and judged myself by society’s standards of young beauty. I see now that my transformed body was simply the changing of the season. A different kind a beauty – one of lush fullness and fertility. Today I noticed, for the first time, that there are lines by my eyes when I really smile. It’s another kind of passage, one of having lived and known joy.
I realize that it’s like noticing the leaves and seeing the beauty of today. I want to stop judging my own beauty based on what I should look like and instead stay open to experiencing what is beautiful about me today. I may still want to lose 15 pounds and I may need a haircut, but today there is a sparkle in my eyes and something playful in my manner. It shines through. Tomorrow will be something new, a fresh beauty.
Sometimes I just become aware of something I love about my body – like the hollow of my knee when it’s bent or the curve of my breast near the armpit. I experience love for myself in small ways. It helps that we take so many pictures for the website. I get to see myself in new ways. In a few years I will look different and I will have these photos of now to remind me of the beauty that is today. Life is always about catching a perfect moment as it passes. I won’t regret the loss of today’s beauty because I know that tomorrow brings new wonders.