We all have experienced looking on at someone of any race, sex and age who was really “in the moment”, living out something excellent.
“A thing of beauty” is what we might have been thinking.
And it’s not about “beauty secrets”. It’s not only about “beautiful girls”.
According to Greek playwright and thought-leader ,Euripedes, beauty was being “of one’s hour”. This notion of “the hour” is reflected in Euripedes’ work from Medea to Alcestis.
We have all seen that beauty of total engagement in the moment: with a teacher at a whiteboard, an athlete achieving, a flower in bloom, a mother with a child.
It’s thrilling and it’s….beautiful.
Isn’t that what beautiful is?
Being really present and available in the moment.
We look at the four seasons and we see the tragedy and the beauty, of ” being of one’s hour” in death, in sleep, in rebirth, in summer. In ancient Greece, a ripe fruit (of its time) was considered beautiful, whereas a young woman trying to appear older or an older woman trying to appear younger would not be considered beautiful. It was not authentic. In the ancient Greek, hōraios had many meanings, including “youthful” and “ripe old age”.
If someone or something is ugly. They remain ugly, under the Greek’s point of view, until they step into the moment and become in their hour.
I remember the young Jane Fonda in her prime, looking at a photograph of the woman she would soon play,Lillian Hellman, in the motion picture, Julia. Lillian had the wrinkles and scars of a warrior. Jane remarked “Look how beautiful she was.” Indeed, Ms. Fonda was right.
In her hour, Lillian seized the moment with her gift.
I put together the above collage last night in honor of “Being Of One’s Hour”. It is a minute and a half “Rhapsody” of music and nature. The music is from the conclusion of the movie version of Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Wright with music composed by Dario Marianelli; most of the imagery comes from the slow motion works of film maker, Louis Schwartzberg.