I, singularly moved
To love the lovely that are not beloved,
Of all the seasons most
– Coventry Patmore
If you read the comments section, you may recall that I mentioned this verse to Marlene when she said she loved winter. This is the post I told her I would write for her.
I can’t say I most love winter, but I do enjoy many aspects of it. However, the line of Patmore’s verse that captured my imagination was “the lovely that are not beloved.” There are all sorts of things that can fit that category, winter among them, and I wonder what else he might have had in mind when he described himself as having an affinity for what is disregarded by others.
Have you ever found yourself protesting, “Oh, but I love _____” (fill in something everyone else is criticizing). In that category, I think first of certain animals– crickets, or lizards, or mice, or squirrels– creatures others might see as pests, but ones I see as more cute than irritating. Or it could be dandelions, or radishes, or other plants nobody seems to appreciate. Maybe you actually like to eat liver or zucchini. You might like a book or movie others found boring. Maybe you secretly appreciated a school teacher that everyone else hated, or thought that oddball classmate was interesting because he was different. Did you feel strange because you liked something others denigrated? Or were you happy that you found joy where others could not?
I think if we keep an eye out for beauty with the awareness that it may be hidden, we will find it in unlikely places. And we might discover that others share our enjoyment of something most people miss completely. Do you have any tips for us about where you’ve found examples of “the lovely that are not beloved?”
Ray Stevens is known mostly for his funny songs, but if you’re old enough, you might remember his 1970 Grammy-winning song that wasn’t joking when it declared “everything is beautiful in its own way.” Despite the arguments against this philosophy, if you’re feeling irritable enough to make Grumpy Cat look like an optimist, zoom back to the groovy year of 1970 and enjoy a much-younger Ray Stevens singing his song. I bet it will make you smile.