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Finding Beauty Wherever We Look

06/30/2023 09:29:47 AM


Ann Cauterruci, Preschool Director

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote to, “…Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” Beauty can be found everywhere; a flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, bugs under a rock, a quiet lake, a rainbow, even a birthday cake, but do we all see beauty in the same way? 

There is a lovely book, written by Naoki Higashida called The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. It is a series of questions that Naoki answers. When asked; “When you look at something, what do you see first?”  Naoki replies:

"…Sometimes I actually pity you for not being able to see the beauty of the world in the same way we do.  Really, our vision of the world can be incredible, just incredible…you may be looking at the exact same things as us, but how we perceive them appears to be different. When you see an object, it seems that you see it as an entire thing first, and only afterward do its details follow on. But for people with autism, the details jump straight out at us first of all, and then only gradually, detail by detail, does the whole image sort of float up into focus. What part of the whole image captures our eyes first depends on a number of things. When a color is vivid or a shape is eye-catching, then that’s the detail that claims our attention, and then our hearts kind of drown in it, and we can’t concentrate on anything else. Every single thing has its own unique beauty. People with autism get to cherish this beauty, as if it’s a kind of blessing given to us."

I recently asked four and five-year-olds what they think of when they hear the word “beautiful.” Here’s what they told me: pretty things, flowers, a dress, rainbows, my garden, my dog, butterflies, and Mommy. In our experience in outdoor classrooms, the children are even more interested in the beauties of our outside environment and love to share their finds with each other. They are learning to observe, to move a little slower, to ask questions, to talk to each other, to share their finds, and to see beautiful things. It is learning at its best.       

There are beautiful pink roses in the front of the building with a fragrance that gives me beauty, joy, and calm every time I walk by. I am grateful to learn from Naoki’s book and how he shares his love of beauty with others. It’s good to stop and smell the roses, count the many blessings that we have, and take the time to drown in beauty.

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784