Have you ever been stunned by beauty? Not just noticed something pretty, had your head momentarily turned, your attention briefly diverted—but literally encountered something so blindingly lovely you found yourself stopped in your tracks?
Well, I have. In fact, it happened to me yesterday morning.
The mercury stood at a measly 3˚F when I stepped outside to toss the ducks and ground feeders their breakfast scoops of cracked corn. Yet my involuntary gasp and sudden halt was not due to the cold, but rather to my first sight of the scintillating white world I'd abruptly and unexpectedly entered.
White on white on white!
White snow-covered landscape. White sheets of ice along the edge of the river. White canopy of winter sky. White exhalations of breath. White-barked sycamores leaning thoughtfully over frozen white pools. Even the air itself seemed to have turned white.
Of course, hereabouts you expect to see white come winter. Ohio winters are white, and January is perhaps the whitest winter month. But this was a special white, a magical fairy-tale white—like the snow-globe white of a child's picture book. Because sometime during the night, the riverbank had been touched by the additional natural magic of hoar frost.
Now, every branch and twig on every tree and bush was also white. A softly glowing, radiant white. Only the upright trunks, a few large limbs, and the river's gray-green water offered any contrast, while simply emphasizing the overall whiteness of the world in every direction.
The effect was so extraordinary and dazzling, so breathtaking, I simply couldn't take another step. Sometimes, you just have to stop and experience the gift of allowing beauty to overwhelm your soul…