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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Do you have time for beauty?

  Eduardo Galeano, the Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist, was interviewed this week on "To the Best of Our Knowledge," one of my favorite radio programs. Galeano asks, "Do you have time for beauty?" I have many times found during these past weeks of the #CLMOOC activities, that I had to answer that question No. This or that part of my daily activity that was perhaps a tiny bit beautiful – for example, stopping for ten minutes to glue some origami paper over the corporate logos on a conference-freeby notebook, so that I will have a journal book that at least in a tiny part I remade myself – but the doing of it, stopping from making checkoffs on the perpetual list of household and work and personal chores which fill most of the day's time to do a small bit of beauty-making, was as much as I could allow myself. Stopping as well to photograph the process or write about it or even really note in my mind that I was doing it, well, somehow that was TOO indulgent.
But I have done many such small acts of beauty-making, and at least had the thought that this was a "make" that would be fun to share with the MOOC, since the first week – picking a bouquet of flowers and arranging them in a vase, highlighting some of the long-neglected cultivars in our garden at our home under reconstruction by removing the volunteer plants which have grown up around them [a long-winded way to say "I did a little weeding" – and the seed of a long post about how destructive that pejorative word about some of the most vital plants in our floral environment {in Spanish, "yerbas malas" the bad plants} can be, if we fail to understand what cultivation really means].
I designed in my mind a #toyhack, taking a traditional Mexican hand carved top with a wooden cradle launcher and turning it upside down, so without the bother of the string and the tricky launching process, which I know my four-year old grandson would find challenging and probably frustrating, he could simply spin it by hand in its cradle and perhaps enjoy it for a moment. But I've not made the time to demo it on camera, as I had fantasized, nor even to bring the top to him and film him doing the hack I had in mind, and then just watch him do whatever else he might with this unfamiliar and venerable toy.
So one legacy I see already of the #clmooc experience is a heightened awareness of the importance of making time for beauty. Thank you all.