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why i love julie taymor

She thinks this is beautiful. She also thinks abandoned, broken-down docks in New York are beautiful. She thinks the mostly-blank brick wall Jude and Max can see from their apartment in Across the Universe is beautiful. She sees the elegance and the pain in everyday things and elevates them--they're not pretty in a conventional sense, but they're beautiful.

in praise of homemade soup

I don't often make soup, but when I do, it is glorious. It's not that difficult--cut up a bunch of stuff, put it in liquid, add spices, cook until tender--but the result exceeds the effort. The root vegetable soup I made this afternoon [while waiting for more information on the flat tire that became a $1000 repair--long story] has parsnips, rutabegas, carrots, leeks, potatoes, onions, turnips, fennel, celery, brussel sprouts, garlic, and butternut squash in a base of chicken stock and chardonnay. But it tastes deeper than that. It tastes of comfort, of breathing out, of earth. Mostly, it tastes of hibernation and of curling up in the warmth of a loved one.

It's interesting how such ordinary things can have such resonances. A certain pillow or the way someone styles their hair, or even a mangled autumn leaf can create a whirlwind of emotions. What is that? Is it the primeval chaos hiding just under the surface of things, poised to pounce? Is it our own willingness to cling to what we know? Is it the presence of the holy in the universe, revealed in glimpses?

When Philip Newell talks about the "glory of God" I believe he means this resonance. All things were not just created by God but contain the residue of the Creator. The simple stuff of our lives, both natural and human-made, is filled brim-full with our memories, with challenge, with beauty and pain, with connection to everything else. Even the blasted, broken car reminds me of laughing with band members, road trips with Loving Husband, and the smell of rain in a sculpture garden. Soup, made of plants taken from the dirt, is glorious because of its connection with God.

moment of zen

Having just come from an edgy art gallery in the West End and driving down the interstate, my dangling and broken side-view mirror tucked safely inside the gaping window, the frigid cold breeze in my hair, and "Every little thing she does is magic" on the radio, I couldn't help thinking, "What a beautiful world."