No, not the Elvis Costello album, though I think that’s when I first heard the phrase, All This Useless Beauty. Rather, I’m referring to the beauty all around us and my foolish need to find some meaning in it.

Nettie and I were in St. Thomas for the last two weeks. Lots of beauty there to be sure. Sun, sky, islands, sails and the water. Oh, the water! Who can hold in their feeble mind a vocabulary of blues large enough to encompasses it?


Everywhere I turned, exclamations abound…Look at the incredible sky!Unbelievable the aquamarine neckless around the crystal sand!Remarkable, the elegant palms against the fleecy clouds!Exquisite, the colors of the coral and fish!

On and on the superlatives go. On and on the beauty grows.

And this weekend, back in Los Angeles, we were greeted by a spectacular Saturday and Sunday of more effortless beauty along the Santa Monica Palisade.

Santa Monica

Again, I found myself trying to describe it, trying to find meaning in the wonder that surrounded me, trying to put myself in some context to it, to insert myself into the picture, to stand not apart from the beauty as a spectator, but as an integrated element of it.

Why? Yes, why?

It sounds silly now writing down these thoughts. The self-referential construct they create is ludicrous in reflection. But at the moment of impact, when the sky spreads out before me and world dazzles my senses, it seems to demand recognition of some kind.

Of course, I know better.

My brain and its rudimentary grasp of the universe is in fact the barrier between the earth and me. It is the clouded lens I must look through. And I know that the harder I try to understand the natural beauty that abounds, the sooner I drain it of its splendor.

Far better that it remains useless and beyond my grasp.



2 Responses to All This Useless Beauty

  1. Frank Z says:

    Who are you? Sean, Hugo, Mark, June, etc…….?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for including a photo of Sorrento Beach and the site that holds so many memories for us!

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