so. i had this brilliant idea that this post would define my aesthetic development using the photographs of the glass door knob as the seminal point of reference.
so. that will not happen.
instead i will tell you that growing up my aesthetic eye, my sense of art, was not only a part of me (nature), but it was also nurtured by my family. now, before you think that my mother or my grandfather or any of my other relatives would go around and say things like, “this is beautiful because it touches your senses in these ways,” they did not.
instead, what happened was this. my mother and i would take off for an afternoon drive in the hills (the black hills of western south dakota) and on a back road north of sturgis or spearfish or deadwood, we’d spy a dilapidated old barn/house/shed in a field and she’d pull over and we’d strike out to explore what was left. sometimes we had a dog with us, sometimes not, but we always came away talking about the life the inhabitants must have had and somewhere in the debris of their lives we’d discover something beautiful (such as a glass door knob.)
instead, my grandfather, a “rock-hound”, would, after lunch, take any of us who were around for the weekend in his nash rambler out into the wilds of the prairie of northeastern wyoming and we’d pull over on some dirt/gravel/barely-rarely paved back road, and get out of the car and start looking for agates. he would get ahead of us–usually with my cousin and uncle–and they’d be walking along, heads down, and every-once-in-a-while one of them would shout, “found one!” and they’d huddle around it and discuss its relative beauty, grandpa pocketing it after its examination and the debate over its merits as a possible ring/bracelet/earring. grandma and i took this opportunity to discuss a book either of us were reading, the beauty of the landscape (i have a particular memory of cottonwoods along a dry gulch), and later in the afternoon, dusty and foot-weary, we’d all pile back into the car and admire the ‘finds’ of the afternoon on the drive back to town.
what i’m saying is when it’s happening you don’t stop and think, “so. this is what beauty is, i should make a point of remembering this.” instead, years later, you look at a glass door knob that’s been collecting dust in a china cabinet and think, “my god, that’s as beautiful as i remember it.”