I am thinking a lot these days about constraints, both real and imagined.
For example, four years ago, my wife and I bought a house. It was a run-down little house, in a run-down neighborhood. It was covered in aluminum siding, and the exposed brick was painted an unflattering grey. It was not attractive, but we could afford it.
For four years I have been frustrated by the appearance of our house. What can you do with aluminum siding?
You can remove it. So we did. On the front of the house, anyway. And underneath it was the original tongue and groove siding, which had been protected by the aluminum since the early 90‘s when it was originally installed.
Three weekends of removal, caulking, sanding and painting later, the front of our house is beautiful. And the cost? Less than $200. What has been standing between me and living in a house whose appearance I enjoy for the last four years was about $180 worth of paint and caulk and sandpaper, and the decision to do anything about it.
What is standing in the way of you and beauty? And what can you do about it?
Here are five things I thought were beautiful.
The Atlantic has a photo collection of women in the workplace in 1917 – 100 years ago. This is three years before the 19th amendment here in the US, giving women the constitutional right to vote. I love this, and how it messes with the narrative we have of the dainty woman who sat at home and cooked dinner for her man. That may have happened, but this happened too.
I came across the abstract artwork of Samantha Keely Smith. Her paintings are nearly wavelike, and they fascinate me. (Use your left and right arrow keys to navigate on your desktop)
In Gaza Girls, a collection of photographs showing the lives of Palestinian girls and young women, The Guardian shows us that even in the midst of warfare and tragedy, life goes on.
In the UK, two treasure hunters found iron age jewelry that dates back 2500 years or more. The intricacy of it amazes me, and shows that the desire for beautiful things is not by any means new.
Not quite as old, but still interesting is two St. John’s Students from Cambridge sing what is the oldest polyphonic tune ever found, from the 10th century. This is haunting.
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