Cinderella’s beauty passed through the alembic of Emerson

I feel beautiful. I know from my acting training that “beautiful” is not a feeling, so I guess I should say that I imagine myself to be beautiful. This comes upon me when I spend time being out in nature. There are days I feel stared at everywhere I go. This sounds vain, but stay with me a minute and I will explain. Usually I feel this sensation when I am full of exhilaration from being outdoors, and I wonder does nature feed my beauty and is it like that Cinderella song “Do I love you because you’re beautiful or are you beautiful because I love you?” Do I think I’m beautiful because people notice me, or do people notice me because I think I’m beautiful. What comes first the chicken or the egg?

It doesn’t really matter, I am just admitting that I adore being admired. I like sweeping into a room and having heads turn in my direction and then double turn. There was a man in front of me in line at a Panera Bread restaurant, and I could see that I took his breath away, and he just kept turning around looking at me and kind of almost shaking his head clearing his brain. Maybe he thought he recognized me, I don’t know. He never said a word. I smiled and was my cheery, engaging self and talked to everybody around me.

Now I don’t always find myself in this head space, but I sure like it when I am. I like imagining beauty inside of me. But why don’t I have this sensation all the time? I’m not any different today than I was yesterday. Some days I judge myself as fat, anxious, even ugly and not the glowing beauty that I see reflected in people’s eyes today. My self-image is so connected to my personal judgments, and how I view myself is directly connected to the way others view me. I find I get the clearest awareness of my true self from being alone in nature. It works for me.

I am reading Emerson’s essay, “Nature,” and in it he recounts that,

 “All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight…Others have the same love in such excess, that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is Art. The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity. A work of art is an abstract or epitome of the world. It is the result or expression of nature, in miniature…The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce. Thus is Art, a nature passed through the alembic of man.”

I had to look up “alembic,” as it is not in my average vocabulary. It means “anything that distills or purifies.” So if all art is nature that has passed through humanity after being purified, I conclude that the opposite is also true, that if humanity allows nature within, it will purify us and we will reflect nature’s beauty in our lives.

I lose sight of this beauty as I live in the materialistic, hectic, embittered, work-filled world, but as I retreat to the beauty of nature I am once again returned to a bewitching state and it is noticed as I stand in line at a cafe. That’s my theory of the moment. Because I refuse to believe it has to do with how tan I am, how often I go to the gym, what clothes I wear, how much sleep I get, whether my hair is styled, or my make-up perfect. I just would rather live in a world that appreciates the glow that comes after I’ve seen my reflection in a quiet forest pond.

Am I making believe I see in you a girl too lovely to be really true?

Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s dream 

or are you really as beautiful as you seem?

 
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