This morning, sitting at the dining room table drinking tea, the Sun peered over the mountain, deemed it safe, and rose up in a brilliant, blinding, life-giving, spirit-lifting display of solar ecstasy.

Right in my eye.

But as I squinted and teared, I also rejoiced.  You see, like Tom Hanks in his cave in the movie Castaway, we can track the time of year by the sun’s position when it crests the gentle rise of the weathered “mountain” (really more of a humble hill) behind our home.

As we move toward spring, our benevolent Sun inches ever leftward on our elevated horizon line.

An interesting thing, this.  Each day, a slightly different position.  Each second, a slightly changed angle.

One day, again, looking out the back window, I noticed a face in one of the stones in our tumbled stone wall.

I had been in this house well over 15 years at the time, and had never seen the face before. Some magic of light, time, and perfect angling conspired to highlight and shade the rough surface of the rock in such a way that it appeared to have a face.

I have been in my house over 18 years now.  I have only ever seen the face but once.

“Mono no aware” is a Japanese phrase that means an awareness of the of the transience (or ephemeral nature, if you will) of beauty, and a gentle sadness at the knowledge that it will pass.

I see beauty everywhere.  Whenever possible, I try to capture it digitally, for my own memory, and to share with others.  But there are more times than I care to think about when that just isn’t possible; when I see something particularly beautiful and especially transient, and know that that moment is all I will have to remember such beauty by.

I think that I will remember it; I try to preserve the memory like autumn leaves pressed between the pages of the book of my mind.  Sometimes it works; more often…not.

Mono no aware.

But I choose to believe that these memories of beauty are not lost; I like to think that they are part of a tremendous, beautiful, ever-growing collage that lives in my brain.  Some images I may not be able to access individually, but they are part of a greater whole being painted every day.

A beautiful sunset over the reservoir.  Trees silhouetted against fog.  Water still as glass, reflecting evergreens like a mirror.  A particular formation of clouds.  The rare sighting of an eagle, an owl, or some other avian star.

I wish you beauty today, despite the sorrow we will share when that beauty is lost.