The old saying is, of course, correct. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this narrative, I am the beholder. Kristine asked me what the most beautiful place I had ever been to was. I've taken the liberty of expanding upon that request and am just going to talk about some of the various forms of beauty I've had the rich pleasure of enjoying; I'll start, however, with places.
I've been to many places, each with its own beauty. This list is, by no means, exhaustive, but merely represents those places that popped immediately into my head as I thought about beautiful places.
Perhaps the most vivid memory I have of spectacular beauty was while snorkeling off of Guam in 1973. The water was deep blue and crystal clear, I could see the fish and coral formations easily from the surface. As I dove down, they became even more clear and beautiful. In that moment, I wished I could live forever underwater.
On the other hand, after months of blistering heat and drenching humidity, I found the mountains of Baguio in the Republic of the Phillipines to be serene and breath-taking, reminding me of my home in Colorado.
And, yet again, the northern coast of Oregon has always had a tremendous allure for me. The waves crashing against the rocky cliffs were thunderous and yet were nearly drowned out by the barking of the sea lions. I sat there for hours and just drank in that beautiful picture.
The hilltop overlooking Florence, Italy provided such a grandeur that I can close my eyes and still see the city, 27 years after my last visit. The beauty that is within that city will be the topic of another post. It may be my favorite city on earth.
And, finally, for this places post, I would have to acknowledge the humbling beauty of the middle of the ocean on a calm day (it's humbling to be out there in a storm too, believe me, but I'll save that for another sea story). As far as you can see, blue water. Calm, almost like glass. Cloudless sky. Not a ship on the horizon, the closest land is miles away -- directly below you.