Have you ever wondered why we are able to perceive the beauty of the natural world? Why we are moved by a stand of pine trees, or by a mountain vista, or by the crashing of the ocean surf against the rocks? It’s good to ponder why there is beauty in the natural world, but perhaps it’s even better to ponder why we are able to perceive it, and why we are moved by it.
Whenever I am moved by natural beauty, I am taken outside of myself. Without the perception of beauty, I would simply perceive myself as one thing among many. I would perceive my existence and the existence of others, but I wouldn’t be able to perceive the goodness in myself or in anything or anyone else. When I am surprised by beauty, I am reminded that there is so much more to life than I can see or understand. The perception of beauty lifts the veil for a moment and opens a door into the unknown, allowing me to see a tantalizing glimpse of the immense mystery of life itself. Beauty reminds me that I am part of this mystery, and that there is goodness at the heart of this mystery.
The perception of beauty, in spite of all the suffering and evil that I may encounter in life, always reaffirms my belief in God. To me, the only explanation for the mystery of beauty is the mystery of God.