Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Most Beautiful Thing in the World...

Recently I was lucky enough to attend the LDStorymakers writing conference, a yearly pilgrimage I take to soak up all the great writing vibes as well as the excellent tips and tricks from prestigious writers. It's an amazing conference and after five years of attendance, I can't say I've had enough. This year's presenters were amazing, and I left feeling more inspired than ever.

One of the best parts was listening to this year's special keynote speaker, international bestselling author Anne Perry. I'd love to type out the full page of notes I took as I listened to her speech, but alas, I fear that would be some kind of copyright infringement. Or would it? I was a communications major at college, I should know these things....

Actually, that would be a bit of a digression anyway, since my title specifically refers to one part of her speech. Anyway, about Anne. Of course, I loved the accent. Foreign enough to be intriguing, but thankfully not heavy enough to keep me from understanding what she was saying. Classy, intelligent, has a way with words. Well, duh.

So after three weeks, what tidbit from her speech affected me most? She related an experience of being asked what she thought was most beautiful in the world. Anne said that at the time, she had to think about it, but then proceeded to tell us what she'd decided is most beautiful to her. Then she proceeded to ask the same question of the conference attendees. So I've been thinking about it. And I've decided that for me, it's leaves.

Photo by Maria Hoagland while enjoying a run. 2012.
Specifically tree leaves. I love their sound. The whisper of the wind as it rustles through them, different sounds depending on the intensity of of current. I love crunching leaves as I shuffle my feet through the gutters in autumn.

I love the smell of leaves. Spring, summer, fall, wet, dry. I love the velvet feel, the intricate veins, the delicate cells, the textures and shapes. The myriad of colors which modulate with the seasons. I love how they dance, lifted by a gentle breeze, glittering in the sunlight, mysterious in the moonlight. I love feeling the dappled sunlight as it filters through the canopy onto the ground. They provide the perfect place for a nap or a daydream.

My favorite? Aspen leaves.

It may be cliche, but the most beautiful thing God has placed on this earth for me to enjoy are strong trees and their gentle leaves.

So the question is, why do you think Anne Perry gave a bunch of writers this assignment? Does it matter to you what I think is most beautiful in the world? Does it matter to you what you think is the most beautiful in the world?