I wonder about the idea of natural beauty. When I think about it as it relates to the body, the concept of uncovered appearance comes to mind. A quality of bareness, perhaps a vulnerability. We tend to think of a certain appeal without any makeup or layering of embellishments – the true form unmasked with its curves, lines and density. Artists throughout time have been attracted to the true form of things, and the inherent aspects that make them beautiful. The elements of nature, sea, sky, earth, and air have inspired fashion designers, painters, writers and musicians since the first moment inspiration could materialize.
According to Christian Dior, “Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.” I often wonder, what exactly is the zest that quantifies natural beauty? It definitely resonates with us. We know natural beauty when we see it, in our environments or in human form. This knowing, however, is not necessarily material. But perhaps it's a mineral of sorts that glimmers in every living thing.
Perfectly intertwined hues of the sun settling to rest, the harmony of the cyclical tides that carry the ocean, the upwards gesture of a lotus petal meeting its sky. This is evidence of natural beauty. It is the spirit of these things that is not tangible, yet so powerful and attractive. What exactly do they all share?
There is an excerpt from Wassily Kandinsky, a brilliant expressionist artist, that speaks of the creative spirit and its need to materialize:
“The creative spirit finds an avenue to the soul, and causes a yearning, an inner urge. The human being seeks to find a material form for the new value which lives in him in spiritual form. That is the searching of the spiritual value for materialization.”
He calls this the white, fertilizing ray, and says it "leads to evolution, to elevation." The ray that emanates from our creative spirit perhaps is the mineral in each of us that glimmers, our intrinsic value, as Kandinsky refers to it. And perhaps a ray of light is how we can also define natural beauty.
“To love beauty is to see light.”
– Victor Hugo
Just as the shine of sun exudes warmth, or the smile of a wise elder radiates an inner knowing, our "spirit," or however each of us refers to it, radiates beauty. When we discover this outside of ourselves, we become aware and are attracted to it. This “fertilizing ray,” the mineral glimmering, is, of course, light. Light is the foundation of our internal nature, our energy, and so we are that of light.
“From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Judith Bluestone Polich, author of Quantum Physics: Sensing Unbroken Wholeness, writes, “According to new scientific thought, all matter and we ourselves consist of forms of light.” In his book Vibrational Medicine, physician Richard Gerber actually describes all matter as "frozen light," light slowed down enough to become solid. Gerber points out that atoms are primarily empty space. What fills them, he says, are packets of light that sometimes act as matter. Matter then may be thought of as light of a higher density. Thus, drawing on the implications of modern physics, we can conclude that human beings are made of light held in matter. Breakthroughs in quantum physics imply that all matter, “including matter that makes up the human body, is itself made up of waves of light.”
Each of us contains a kind of natural beauty, an omnipresent and infinite light. Our awareness of this light when we see natural beauty is what inspires us to create, feel and receive. The light in every living thing that glimmers bright enough so we can perceive it. Natural beauty, then, is an illumination from within. Transmuting darkness, and emanating from its place of boundless origin.
Words by Danielle Bravaco
Portraits by Jo Duck / i.D.vice
Landscape photography by Takashi Nakagawa / National Geographic