Beauty defined: The aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure. That pleasure exalts the senses, giving pleasure to the mind or spirit.

Beauty defined: The aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure. That pleasure exalts the senses, giving pleasure to the mind or spirit.

I am quite certain Merriam Webster in his attempt to give definition to the word struggled — just like you or I would — with examples of those entities that stimulate our senses whether visual, auditory, taste, smell or tactile.

We search for examples of things that we can experience in our surroundings that are beautiful.
For me to attempt the definition of beauty would suggest different examples of beauty. At present, I am sitting in my study listening to a beautiful “Piano Concerto” written by Rachmaninoff. It happens to be my favorite out of the many beautiful piano concertos written by a variety of composers. Coming from a wide menu of great music, it evokes a feeling of beauty.

In my study this morning, the beautiful sky scenes created by the sun shining through the beautiful silver-lined clouds, spreading the bright rays of the sun over the landscape, presents a radically different scene from very active thunderstorm in the sky on the other side of the sky. The majestic offerings challenge a rather different definition of beauty.

I was standing in a long line of shoppers in a grocery store, and very close to me was a beautiful lady holding a perfectly adorable little child. I had some time to observe both mother and child. Yes, I have a rather strong penchant for both beautiful ladies and adorable babies.

There was a striking likeness of both the mother and child. Both were very beautiful in hair color and facial features. The little child had many blonde curls framing his adorable face. As the long line of shoppers moved closer to me, so did the mother and child. I noticed the little child was missing one tiny shoe and sock, which were lying in the bottom of the shopping cart. The little chubby sockless foot was reaching out toward my arm. When it touched my arm, the child cooed contentedly and gave me a beautiful smile. Now, you must understand that little baby feet rank very high on the list of the world’s most beautiful things.

When I am in the close proximity of little children, I feel a strong urge to talk to them and play with them. And so it was with me. The unintelligible coos and smiles completely stole my heart. Needlessly to suggest that the mother was soon joining in merriment and encouraging the child in his roundelay. The mother and child had stolen this old man’s heart. You want an example of beauty, it didn’t get any better than this little exchange.

O.K., you guessed it, both mother and child pressed the response button to trigger a sudden response to something beautiful.

For 50 years, the beautiful watercolors, a collection of birds, flowers and landscapes, which my little lady created, most certainly created a wonderful response to beauty, a response that I will not ever forget. Not only were her paintings beautiful, so was the delicate beauty she demonstrated in her creation of them. How do you explain such appreciation for something so beautiful?

I listen to N.P.R. quite often. On Saturday morning, the beginning of the broadcast day, there is an hour long program called “The Ted Radio Hour.” It is a very well put together program dealing with very sensitive subjects; subjects not often discussed on A.M. radio. In the recent past, they dealt with prejudice, hate, pain, creativity and, on the program presented this last Saturday, beauty. Most of us have some very definite ideas on what is beautiful and what is not. But, what is beauty? The concept of beauty is a concept that is difficult to wrap your arms around. A rose bud is described as beautiful (full of beauty), but what is beauty? We describe a picture as beautiful, but what is a picture full of? What is there in these examples that makes them beautiful?

One of the guests on this last Saturday’s program was an eminent child psychologist who dealt with the very emotional issue of children who possess a terminal illness. What path do you take to ease the pain of a child who is stricken with an illness, which, sooner rather than later, will cause his or her death? In most cases, these children know that they will face certain death. How do you strive to make their remaining days beautiful? How can any phase of the remaining life be beautiful? The gentleman spoke with very positive suggestions for both the children and their caregivers. The main thrust of the program was, how do these children express themselves in a positive way?

One of the clients of this psychologist was a beautiful artistic 11-year-old little girl. Her prognosis was imminent death due to incurable pancreatic cancer. Everyone, including the little girl, knew she was in her last days of life.

The caregivers encouraged her to pursue her great talent of drawing beautiful birds, flowers and butterflies. On what proved to be her last day of life, she asked the psychologist for some crayons and paper. With an obvious sense of urgency, she drew a perfect rose bud. When she was satisfied, she drew a beautiful monarch butterfly. When she was satisfied with her creations, she gave the colors back to the psychologist. She then reached out to the gentleman and said “I LOVE YOU,” and gave him her picture. Three hours later, she entered eternal rest. An ultimate expression of beauty.

As the psychologist concluded his presentation, all I could do was shed bitter tears along with him.

And so I have defined what beauty is!

And to you my friends:
Wherein does the quality of beauty dwell
It is touched by our hand or where our feet have trod
It is a feeling which I know so well
It is a gift within our hearts, put there by the hand of God.

Les Groves is a resident of McPherson.