Momentary beauty overload

This morning I was walking from Tavistock Square to Euston Road. London is always about a month ahead in spring compared to the North West and I walked through Tavistock Square garden just to enjoy the the sense of shrubs, trees and plants coming in to bloom. I came across a big rock with a plaque honouring conscientious objectors and the right to refuse to kill.

I came out of the garden space and made my way up a street towards Euston Road and in a space of two storey building and parked cars there were a row of four magnolia stellata trees in full bloom with hundreds and hundreds of white star-shaped flowers. And walking underneath those four trees was a brief moment of diving into beauty. A different universe for a little while of delicate shapes and intense shades of white.

And in the urban environment of flat surfaces, angles and hard textures it is almost too much beauty and the act of opening myself up to being in that beauty feels scary and vulnerable. Raw.

I used to choose not to open myself up to beauty because it would feel as if actively inviting overwhelm. Even beauty overload would still be overload and the proceess of transitioning between states would feel like too much hard work.

But as I discovered staying closed off is a lot of hard work too… And I wouldn’t get moments of respite, painful as they may be they are often also very life affirming and keeps me connected to what I believe matters.

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