CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FAMILY
Of Beauty and Order

‘I look up at the stars hanging low in a sky that makes me think I’m seeing the infinite. But beneath their cold gaze, I feel small.’

— Sabba Tahir

THE INTRO SCENE —

My older sister and I are sitting precariously on a half-damp old piece of wood. It was probably a long, robust and important branch once to some wise old oak or perhaps even more probable to a beech. We are five and nine, twelve and sixteen, seven and eleven, it doesn’t even matter. Our mother is washing apples, or maybe tomatoes in the clean cold spring water which glimmers in the sunlight. Our father is either setting up camp or just starting to make some fire for the feast we are about to have. An occasional ember flies. A spark. The smell of freshly picked parsley that our mum got from the weekly market is familiar, comforting and as I have learned in the later years, absolutely beautiful. I was not such a fan of it as a child, but now I buy it from the market, as my mum did/does, and put it into a random aesthetically pleasing glass and right on the kitchen table it goes. Now I love it. Now it has to be there. My fingers are muddy and slightly cut from the prickly stems of flowers I tried to pick. My sister is just about to show me something that she found in the bushes.

In the mountains and forests is where my family exists in tranquility.

THE NOW SCENE —

Years later, with different but same people, we are at the coastal side of the country and it is again all very beautiful. We are on a stone beach, gazing at the night sky just after someone said something slightly insulting to another in the hopes of a successful joke that had now obviously fallen deep down into the place of misinterpretation and irritation. Also known as Mordor. The place where all mistimed and inappropriate jokes (do they actually exist? For the love of Michael Scott, give me strength to find the right answer to this question) end up. Anyhoo… ah yes. The night sky with gazillion little suns and other gasses. Beauty, ha? Go figure.

BRIDGE FOR THE NIGHT SKY AND BEAUTY

Why is a dark, endless, starry night sky so beautiful? I thought to myself, my dad thought to himself, my mum might have also, so did my sister at one point.

THE PHENOMENON OF THE NIGHT SKY

It is so great that one cannot even comprehend it. Sure, to some or most people it can generate a sense of tranquility, and I agree with that, it’s true, but I am also terrified of it. A starry night sky looked upon from somewhere on Earth, perhaps a stone beach or a desert, in all its terrifying glory. It is so beautiful that I feel like I might lose it mentally. One part of me, that is aware that I cannot grasp it, makes peace with that, but the other part of me becomes saturated by such vast beauty. What do you do then? What am I as a small person supposed to do, but be slightly terrified and end the whole ordeal with a whimsical hand gesture that says ‘I’m done. I am heading to bed. This has been great, but enough is enough.’ If you ask me, it’s completely beyond me to try to understand it. I simply cannot be exposed to it for too long. 

BRIDGE FOR THE NIGHT SKY AND BEAUTY

Why is a dark, endless, starry night sky so beautiful? I thought to myself, my dad thought to himself, my mum might have also, so did my sister at one point.

THE PHENOMENON OF THE NIGHT SKY

It is so great that one cannot even comprehend it. Sure, to some or most people it can generate a sense of tranquility, and I agree with that, it’s true, but I am also terrified of it. A starry night sky looked upon from somewhere on Earth, perhaps a stone beach or a desert, in all its terrifying glory. It is so beautiful that I feel like I might lose it mentally. One part of me, that is aware that I cannot grasp it, makes peace with that, but the other part of me becomes saturated by such vast beauty. What do you do then? What am I as a small person supposed to do, but be slightly terrified and end the whole ordeal with a whimsical hand gesture that says ‘I’m done. I am heading to bed. This has been great, but enough is enough.’ If you ask me, it’s completely beyond me to try to understand it. I simply cannot be exposed to it for too long. 

FAMILY CONVERSATIONS ON BEAUTY —

My whole family spent who knows how many nights discussing such themes underneath exactly those different, but same starry nights. Van Gogh would like it, I think. Between the evening debates, murmurs, muffled chuckles, head nods or loud exasperated sighs if there was one point on which we all concurred it was that that same night sky with its suns, stars, planets, moons, galaxies, meteors is unequivocally beautiful. Yes, you can say that we varied in our degrees of thought, obviously I didn’t find it only beautiful, since I find it kind of intimidating, we could even say that I find it to be sublime; arguably a quality of an object or an entity or an event that simultaneously amazes with its beauty and terrifies with its power and vastness, but again, the sense of beauty stays, even if it’s mind-boggling and terrifying.

THE SHORT STORY

Sketch dwarf intuitive beauty
Šumski (or Schumsky) = verbatim Woody, Grovey, masculine, so to say.

In one of his short stories, my dad put three dwarves that resemble those imagined in The Lord of the Rings, thank you Tolkien, who float through the universe in a transparent bubble-like motorless orb as wonderers. Amongst other things they spin out these threads of existence and their topics.  

As he narrates:

Each of our friends contemplated Beauty in silence, within themselves.

“But how can you tell what I alone find beautiful?” in a slightly bickering tone Gorski asked Schumsky.

Schumsky stared with his dark eyes deep into Gorski’s, all the way to the bottom of his small creature, and then slowly spoke, “It’s intuitive.”

He was silent for a short time, and then continued. “We all intuitively feel Beauty, or we know how to recognize it.”

“You think so?” Gorski asked rhetorically as he was looking up to the all-encompassing Universe.

“Oh, just look at the Universe all around us, my dear Gorski! Look, look!’” as if they weren’t already doing just that, an ecstatic Morska interjected and circled her hand broadly around its axis, in order to emphasize the infinite horizontal view through their spherical ship.

She proceeded, “Isn’t all this here, Beauty? Exempt Beauty even, what’s more we all find this beautiful, so it is a shared and common sensation?”. Without waiting for an answer, Morska continued to argue Schumsky’s statement of the intuitive recognition of universal beauty.

“Alright then. I do I suppose agree.” Gorski said wonder-struck at Morska’s words and the resounding conviction with which she spoke, as if she knew she was telling an ancient truth.

“Hmm, you could say then that we all like this way the Universe is arranged, we agree with it. It is the beauty of it that attracts us and soothes our senses. The Universe is created then in a beautiful way. A Beautiful Order,” a little awkwardly, but worded Gorski accurately.

Beauty doubter Gorski
Gorski = verbatim Hilly (as in representing hills), non-binary, so to say.
Morska feminine dwarf
Morska = verbatim, of the Sea or Marine, feminine, so to say.

                                         silence

“Yes. Yes, we could call it the Space Order,” Schumsky concluded.

A few moments of silence passed again, but something was cooking inside Gorski. Every growing second their ginger-bearded and reddened face resembled that of a porcupine.

“You had to say it, didn’t you?! You just could not let me have this one. You always have the last word.”

Bewildered Schumsky tried to rein in this neighing horse of a dwarf, “I only thought it needed a conclusion, nothing else. It was perfect. I – ”

“Yeah, yeah…” agitated, Gorski dismisses Schumsky’s pacifying attempts.

As per usual this goes on for a while, whereas, at this point, we should give them space (yes, pun indeed intended) and peacefully abort this ship. After all, there is so much beauty yet to experience.

Sketch dwarf intuitive beauty
Šumski (or Schumsky) = verbatim Woody, Grovey, masculine, so to say.

In one of his short stories, my dad put three dwarves that resemble those imagined in The Lord of the Rings, thank you Tolkien, who float through the universe in a transparent bubble-like motorless orb as wonderers. Amongst other things they spin out these threads of existence and their topics.  

As he narrates:

Each of our friends contemplated Beauty in silence, within themselves.

“But how can you tell what I alone find beautiful?” in a slightly bickering tone Gorski asked Schumsky.

Schumsky stared with his dark eyes deep into Gorski’s, all the way to the bottom of his small creature, and then slowly spoke, “It’s intuitive.”

He was silent for a short time, and then continued. “We all intuitively feel Beauty, or we know how to recognize it.”

Beauty doubter Gorski
Gorski = verbatim Hilly (as in representing hills), non-binary, so to say.

“You think so?” Gorski asked rhetorically as he was looking up to the all-encompassing Universe.

“Oh, just look at the Universe all around us, my dear Gorski! Look, look!’” as if they weren’t already doing just that, an ecstatic Morska interjected and circled her hand broadly around its axis, in order to emphasize the infinite horizontal view through their spherical ship.

She proceeded, “Isn’t all this here, Beauty? Exempt Beauty even, what’s more we all find this beautiful, so it is a shared and common sensation?”. Without waiting for an answer, Morska continued to argue Schumsky’s statement of the intuitive recognition of universal beauty.

“Alright then. I do I suppose agree.” Gorski said wonder-struck at Morska’s words and the resounding conviction with which she spoke, as if she knew she was telling an ancient truth.

“Hmm, you could say then that we all like this way the Universe is arranged, we agree with it. It is the beauty of it that attracts us and soothes our senses. The Universe is created then in a beautiful way. A Beautiful Order,” a little awkwardly, but worded Gorski accurately.

Morska feminine dwarf
Morska = verbatim, of the Sea or Marine, feminine, so to say.

silence

 

“Yes. Yes, we could call it the Space Order,” Schumsky concluded.

A few moments of silence passed again, but something was cooking inside Gorski. Every growing second their ginger-bearded and reddened face resembled that of a porcupine.

“You had to say it, didn’t you?! You just could not let me have this one. You always have the last word.”

Bewildered Schumsky tried to rein in this neighing horse of a dwarf, “I only thought it needed a conclusion, nothing else. It was perfect. I – ”

“Yeah, yeah…” agitated, Gorski dismisses Schumsky’s pacifying attempts.

As per usual this goes on for a while, whereas, at this point, we should give them space (yes, pun indeed intended) and peacefully abort this ship. After all, there is so much beauty yet to experience.

A snippet on family, home and feeling comfortable enough with a group of people to ask questions about anything and unjudgementally trying out different answers. Thank you.