One of my pinnacle moments of realizing what beauty means to me was when I read this from Elaine Scarry’s On Beauty and Being Just:
Because the sky is equally distributed throughout the world – because its beautiful events are equally distributed – it will not be surprising if the population in large numbers, or even unanimously, agree that the beautiful sky should continue. Because most of its manifestations – its habit of alternating between blue and black, the phases of the moon, the sunrise and sunset – are present everywhere, those voting do not need to know that they will be beneficiaries.
I mention this because I have a fantastic story to tell that reinforced this idea, and reminded me how much I love the sky.
At the beginning of the summer, I had dinner with some family friends in the East Village. By the time we left the restaurant, the sun was setting. As we walked outside, we looked up at the sky to see one of the most beautiful and emotional scenes. The sky was a subtle gradient of red to purple to blue, and the clouds were like suspended fluffy marshmallows. Along with my fellow members of humanity witnessing this sky, I took a picture:
A couple days ago, while I was at the Robert Mapplethorpe House, one of my students wanted to show me his photographs. He sat at the computer, turned to me and said “Do you remember that beautiful sky with the clouds during the sunset this summer?” I was almost positive I knew what he was talking about, and sure enough, the photograph he brought up was of the exact same sky, but from DUMBO. He, too, had noticed how beautiful the sky was, and felt compelled to photograph it. We didn’t know each other. We were in separate parts of town. We both saw this sky.
How fucking amazing is that?