Sunday, May 25

an innocence of eye

But the extraordinary deep-red rose at the moment of perfect bloom, the monarch butterfly emerging wet and sparkling from the chrysalis into the full light, the indigo bunting streaking in utter, iridescent cobalt toward the feeder, bluer than anything else in the world—these arrest our attention and refresh our sensations. They remind us of the dearness even of things that don't appear extraordinary, but also, like all the rest of these things, pass quickly or are already unrecoverable at the very moment we have them. People such as birdwatchers or flower connoisseurs can even devote lives to the mere prospect of seeing such things, which, in turn, can have the paradoxical effect of wearing out our palates even for the extraordinary. The search for extraordinary objects is a quest for innocence: not really for the flower's innocence, but an innocence of eye that beholds them, the desire to draw something pure from the well of perception.

-- Crispin Sartwell Six Names of Beauty