List the most beautiful things you have ever seen:
- My mother’s smile. Most of her children inherited the small mouth and thin lips of my father’s side of the family, but my mother had fantastic full lips, straight white teeth and a beautiful smile.
- She had great legs, too. Though she opted for slacks and comfortable shoes for most of her life, in a dress that barely covered her knees and a pair of high-heeled shoes, Mom’s legs could take your breath away.
- Babies. My own, of course, but others, too. The tiny, dimpled fingers and toes, the lush eyelashes and silky hair: I could study a baby for hours, for the little miracles that they are.
- Miller’s Marsh, full of water lilies in full bloom.
- An exhibit of Jasper John’s work, at a little gallery in Chicago. It was a trip with my daughter, Jen. We were out for a stroll. We just happened to stop to look. The work of one of my favorite artists was on exhibit! The art was tremendous; the whole day was serendipitous and wonderful.
- The Parthenon. In Nashville, on vacation with my sisters, I learned that there was a full-sized replica of the Parthenon in that city. Touring the city in the evening, we stopped to see the structure, glowing white under the stars.
- The work of Vincent Van Gogh, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Though he’s been dead for over a hundred years, when I see his work in person, with his heavy impasto brush strokes, I feel like he just stepped away from the easel!
- The Northern Lights, here on Beaver Island, in the year that I turned forty. My family was here, to help me celebrate. We had gone to our separate places of lodging, at the end of a long day. As I was getting out of the car to go inside, I just happened to look up. Amazed, I drove to town to grab my sister, Cheryl, from her hotel room. Together, in the middle of the night, we wandered, looking up as ribbons of pink and green chased across the sky. I’ve never seen them so beautiful before or since.