And of course beauty

“And of course beauty: the beauty that was for him the link between the ships and the woods and the poems.  He remembered as though it were but a few days ago that winter night, himself too young even to know the meaning of beauty, when he had looked up at a delicate tracery of bare black branches against the icy glittering stars: suddenly something that was, all at once, pain and longing and adoring had welled up in him, almost choking him.  He had wanted to tell someone, but there were no words, inarticulate in the pain and glory.  It was long afterwards that he realized that it had been his first aesthetic experience.  That nameless something that had stopped his heart was Beauty.  Even now, for him, ‘bare branches’ was a synonym for beauty.”  (Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy)

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