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It was with a certain amount of hesitation that I wandered down to the beach that evening. It seemed as if the entire city of Honolulu had turned up for what promised to be a beautiful sunset. The disc wandered, ponderingly, across the sky as if tempting the mortal watchers to try to grab it. The hesitation that I felt was not because of some sort of beauty-related phobia nor was it because of an inherent hate of sunsets. No, my hesitation came strictly from the heart.
The most beautiful beaches of the world are, in essence, art galleries. The helpless wanderer is stricken by the spectrum of exhibits that are on display. On the average, white-sanded beach, there are many types of art to be seen. Hung on the blue sky, framed by the blinding sun and on a field of crystal clear water, these portraits of humanity tempt even the most puritan of visitors. As one browses the gallery one will see pieces that should have been taken down quite a long time ago, those the guest will quickly pass by. One will eventually come upon what can be compared to a Picasso, and one quickens the shuffling, sandy, bare feet in an attempt to get away from the startling realization that, yes someone can look that bad. They say that it is impossible to judge art, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some of the pieces seen in this gallery are beautiful only in the eyes of the artists.
However do not lose hope, for there is something to look forward to in this exhibit. There are pieces that captivate, that entrance, and that dazzle even the most veteran of exhibit-goers. These are pieces that pierce the soul. People that, upon viewing, change the standard for that elusive title of “beautiful”. It becomes hard, for someone who has no experience with such beautiful people, to interact with them. How can one smile and say hello to a goddess? What small talk is worthy of the ears of someone who would make Helen of Troy look like the kind of woman that you need a pocket-full of cash to spend the evening with?
So no, my hesitation to wander the beach in the evening under the rosy sky stems not from a fear of people, but from a social expectation.
In society, it is expected that one pursues beauty. That one attempts to capture what is beautiful and make it ones own. And yet, can one capture a dream? There is no young man who does not dream of being with beauty, and I was no exception. But how can we fully realize our dreams? A sunset on the beach seems as good a place as any to make fiction reality.
So as I reclined on the stone wall overlooking the sun-drenched water lapping onto the bleached sand I thought about how to ascertain beauty. Which girl would I ask to be mine? How would I take that lumpy, coal-like feeling of lust and create a fire of love out of it? Laying there as I was, my hair blowing in the warm evening wind, I looked over the beach to find “the one”, or at least “the one right now”. Eventually my eyes picked out a girl that stood out to me. She was not that beauty that blinds men, nor was she that beauty that teases them into insanity. She had that quiet beauty.
The beauty of a flower in the early spring, before it has had a chance to unfurl. The beauty of someone who does not know their own beauty; of someone that does not poses that self-assured attitude that they are better than you. She had that quiet beauty that slips into your brain, that whispers quietly in your ear, that caresses with the fingertips, that quiet beauty that slowly opens the door to your heart and slips in, one leg at a time.
So as I laid my eyes upon what those in Hollywood would call my soul mate and my mind became cluttered with hallmark phrases of love, I thought of how best to seduce this beauty. Should I try a suave line, should I merely look at her with a tempting glance, should I do a back flip in a primitive primate display of manliness?
None of those things ended up being the finale to this tale, and that is because of three main occurrences happening in close succession.
The first was that the band playing in the nearby bar started to play a song that reflects every summer hope that any person holds. They started to pluck on the guitar and rustle the drums, to draw out a trembling trumpet wail and to make the bass beat in synchronization with my own heart. This music so matched my own feelings, so mirrored my own desires and dreams, that it drew a joyful tear to my eye. This music was summer in music form. The musicians, unbeknownst to them, were one part of the trinity of occurrences that helped me find my search for beauty.
While the melody of music massaged my mind and soul, my mind wandered down the dusty corridors of my memory to places that have not been explored in some time. We all have those places, repressed ideas and thoughts that we once held to be truth but now accept as idiocy. But why do we accept that? Because we lost the faith. We lost the passion that made those ideas fact rather than fiction. Well as I sat there on the ruby red beach, watching the breakers hit the white sand and the whiter feet of love-struck, beach walking couples I though about those ideas that I had discarded as inane.
I thought about childhood and what it meant to be innocent. Does innocence stem from ignorance? Children are not ignorant, they see that other people have different views from them, that others kids have different skin colors, but they accept everyone as their equals. So they are, in fact, not innocent. They do not judge. They are accepting of all people and of all creeds.
As I walked those halls of my memory I was filled with the emotions that I had set aside, in true human fashion, for another day. I took the boxes and crates of set-aside emotions and I opened them. I looked inside of them, shifting through anger and sadness, happiness and disappointment as if they were old, second hand shirts. I tried some of them on, and did not like the fit. Eventually I go to loneliness and did not even try that one on. I think that the reason that I did not try it on was because it looked too silly to be taken seriously. Sitting there, on that beach, feeling sorry for myself, trying to find beauty, second-hand loneliness was not needed.
The third deterrence from a purely Hallmark ending to the quest for love came in the form of nature. As the girl walked near me, only paces away, my music-cluttered mind raced to figure out how to react to this. My emotions, uncovered and unboxed, fluttered in my head and flowed behind my eyes, a deluge of madness and insanity contained in the fragile, eggshell-thin head of a human.
But my eyes were drawn from the quiet beauty of humanity. They were taken from that girl, from the small-picture, adolescence quest for vain beauty and they were directed, as if by a divine hand, to the sky.
The formerly blue sky had been infused with a myriad spectrum of color. Reds coupled with blues, pinks danced with orange, tangerine waltzed with aqua all to create a scene of true, natural beauty. And as I sat there, music filling my ears and emotions filling my mind, the true beauty of the sky and of the world around me made me forget about the harsh, human hunt for beauty, of trying to trap it like a wild beast. And as that girl walked by me, I let her go, knowing full well that by doing so I made sure that real beauty would never pass me by as long as I took the time to look at a sunset.