Beauty is imperfect

David Busch

I slowly meander through Cuyahoga National Park with my dog wagging her tail at my side. Her puppy eyes look up at me; they’re saying thank you. They’re grateful for being outside. I look up at all the great oak and evergreen trees, the small patches of the changing fall colors and the exotic colors of Ohio finches as they bounce through the blue sky of fall. I look down at the broken twigs and fallen logs of old trees, at the shoe footprint from a rainy and muddy romp through the park and at the chipmunks and squirrels as they go scurrying past me – preparing for the winter cold to come. Beautiful.

What is beauty to you? Is it the smile or innocent laughter of your significant other? Is it the faces of your grandparents, each wrinkle a descriptive adjective of life? Maybe it’s even that small dent in your car that is out of place but, at the same time, is in place because it’s yours, and you know the story behind it. Or we could be obvious – is beauty relaxing by the calm Caribbean, a cold beer in your hand and the cool sand tickling the inside of your toes? Beauty falls on an endless spectrum.

Beauty, however, is not perfect. Each time I pass that old oak tree I am so enthralled with, it is imperfect. The aged knot and chipped bark is like no other tree in this park, in this world. It has lived and suffered like no other tree. The bright yellow Ohio finches are imperfect. Each flight and path they choose to take is theirs, making each bounce through the air beautiful. The early patches of fall colors gives highlights to the rolling hills of the Ohio Valley. Each color randomly placed. And, next year, it will be completely different – imperfect compared to this year.

In a society filled with advertisements offering “perfect” cars, hair and clothing styles and houses, we tend to forget that beauty is imperfect; it is not something that is molded with straight lines and conformist philosophy but is found in the wrinkles of the old, the scars of war veterans and the crooked smile of your significant other. Beauty is even found in the forgotten souls of the homeless shelters and the sad faces of torn Iraqi and Afghani families.

Look around. Uniqueness is imperfect. Originality is imperfect. Beauty is imperfect and can be found anywhere. Seek the imperfect – do not ignore it or try to change it – understand it. Why is it beautiful to you? Or why isn’t it beautiful to you but it is to someone else? How was this beauty formed or, even better, deformed? Beauty is your understanding, your perception of the imperfect. I am seeking my own understanding and perception. I hope you are seeking yours, for each of our perceptions creates a vision of what society is. We define society, and the hope is to create one that finds beauty in everything. It does not discriminate. I’ll hold onto that quixotic dream.

David Busch is a junior history and psychology major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]