Earlier this week, I was driving to work and saw the moon so close I thought it was crashing to earth. The sun had not yet broken the eastern horizon and our nearest satellite hung in the brightening sky like a luminous silver ball, looming low and large in the western sky.
I couldn't help but be awed by the beauty of the dawn. But there were other elements to the morning. Beauty in the shape of the aforementioned full moon, silver against the sapphire morning sky. Undulating fog as I crossed the bridge, heading due west into God's night light as it slowly set. I had never seen fog like this: I wasn't driving through it - but off to the south it rose and fell across the bay and the hidden barrier islands as if shaping itself into some kind of spectral roller coaster.
Alongside the beauty lay function - the still-new looking bridge; three lanes of pale concrete stretching across the watery blue expanse, making my journey so much shorter. We appreciate the purpose of this span even more than before - since its predecessor had been tossed aside like so many Lego blocks by the force of Hurricane Ivan. My old car still humming along, taking me to work and the slim aluminum light poles...dark now in the morning but ready to light my way home at the other end of the day.
And ugliness. The belching smokestacks of the chemical plants north of the bay. How much ugliness do we endure for the sake of modern convenience? Much more than I see in my world. Perhaps that's the trick: the better we hide the ugliness, the more we are willing to tolerate it. But this morning, white and gray smoke plumed forth from the stacks, inexorably craning into the impossibly blue sky like the pillars of Olympus - if they had been designed by some heartless, soulless character from an Ayn Rand novel.
Beauty; function; ugliness. A microcosm of our world. God created this blue planet for us to live on and care for. He gave us beauty and function, but I think that we have far surpassed ourselves as creators of ugly. Do we turn from it? Do we embrace it? Do we use it as motivation for change?
What do you think?