Does Pain Have to Be Ugly?

Dear Henry,

Have you noticed that pain isn't ever represented as something beautiful?

Pain is something that we run away from and hide from. We try, unsuccessfully, to carve it out of our lives and it is always portrayed as something disfigured, something ugly.

It took the study of water for me to see how incorrect those beliefs are.

Water has always enthralled me. I love to swim, I love to find hidden springs and water flowing over bluffs and I absolutely love to photograph it. Seeking out beautiful waterfalls and peaceful lakes to contemplate and shoot has gotten me through some of the toughest moments of my life.

That's because water is amazing.

Did you realize, that all of the water currently on the earth has been here pretty much since the beginning of the earth itself?  And, did you realize that with the constant cycle of evaporation and rainfall that a single drop of water has, by now, circumnavigated the globe millions of times over the millennia?

Water is a major component of every living thing on earth and so that same drop of water, in addition to its constant traveling around the world, has also been, at least briefly, many, many different things

The continuity and the connectivity that water provides to our past, our futures, and to one another is both staggering and humbling, and to look across a sea, and realize that I am looking at everything (and everyone) who has ever lived as well as everything (and everyone) who will ever live can bring tears to my eyes.

Of course, we don't always exchange our water graciously, and many times that transfer of water between us and the world takes place in the form of blood, sweat, and tears.

Without the tears of the world, there would be no dew, no springs, and no waterfalls, and that realization has given me so much peace.  It helps me to know that in some small way my tears will always be relevant and necessary for the beauty of the world and that comfort cannot be dismissed.

Plus, looking for hidden springs brings me to nature and I believe there is a universal agreement that a walk through the woods and an apple will cure anything that ails you.

I am eternally grateful that there are far more waterfalls than I could ever possibly see and that means that I will always have something beautiful to search for. 

xoxo a.d.