7:30 BELLS: The Best of the Bells: Our Patina Makes Us Beautiful

In celebration of my wonderful father's 92nd birthday, I want to re-post this blog from 4-29-14.  And I will only add, I'm so glad he is still here. He's one of the most beautiful people I know.

When I passed this tree, cut down by a chain saw, its ragged beauty snagged my attention. In death, the tree bares its wounded heart to the world. Tears of sap have hardened into lacey veil. 

The dead, the fallen, the wounded, the ragged imperfect—we don’t usually consider them beautiful. But there is much to be found in them. Mary Oliver expresses this well in these lines excerpted from her poem, Whelks:

“but each morning on the wide shore / I pass what is perfect and shining / to look for whelks, whose edges / have rubbed so long against the world / they have snapped and crumbled—” Mary Oliver  

This week I heard someone say—with some shame—that they are repulsed by very old people. By their wrinkles, their sagging flesh, their “decrepitude.” How sad. How tragic that American culture embraces only the “perfect and shining.” Youth. The air-brushed makeover. The new, new, forever new.

I think patina is beautiful. Patina—a surface that has formed over something, such as green color on a bronze bell, that comes from age, long exposure to weather, or from being used for many years. When I am old, I hope people will look at me and see the richness of my patina . I hope they can still hear the reverberating rings from a long and vibrant life.


The patina on the bell celebrates
a life filled with ringing

7:30 BELLS  Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on August 13 for a guest post with children's book author L.L. Owens.