No star is ever lost we once have seen,
We always may be what we might have been. - from “A Legend of Provence” by Adelaide Anne Procter

Last year, the foster son we had living with us and I planted an orange miniature rose in our front yard - orange being his favorite color. It survived the winter and is blooming now, and I miss that boy so much. 

Good morning!

I am Hugh Hollowell, and this is Life is So Beautiful, a newsletter about finding the beautiful when it's hard to - and maybe especially when it's hard to.

Around the beginning of each year, you see people talking about new goals, new resolutions, about getting a “fresh start”. It’s a liminal time, when all things seem possible, when there seems to be limitless potential, when anything is on the table and nothing seems out of reach.
Right now feels a lot like that for me.

Perhaps it’s because I am emerging after six months of pretty severe depression. Or perhaps it’s because I am starting new things, like taking my health seriously (and losing 10 pounds in the last month!) and getting regular exercise. Or maybe it’s just spring fever. Or maybe it’s that with the vaccine in our bodies, my wife and I feel a bit safer being in more public places.

There is an Italian place here in town. It was one of the first restaurants we ate at when we moved here in 2018. Every one of our foster kids loved eating there. We often go there on “special” days, like birthdays and anniversaries, but we also go there for Friday date night meals too.

They recently moved to a new location, and last week was their grand opening. Friday night we went to check it out. They were busy, but we sat outside, in a well ventilated area, an appropriate distance from other folks. The meal was delightful, the staff attentive, the management took COVID precautions seriously, and honestly, it was just so… normal I almost burst into tears while eating my panini.

It felt like both starting over and normal. It was lovely.

You don’t have to wait for January to make resolutions, to start over, to begin again. You can have April Resolutions. Or Summer Resolutions. Or Monday resolutions. Now is a wonderful time to start something new.

Five Beautiful Things

  • Related to starting over, here is a wonderful piece in the NY Times about developing a new personality after the pandemic. It reminded me of this piece I wrote years ago, about some advice I gave someone going through a divorce.
  • This rare video of McCartney recording Blackbird, which is probably my favorite Beatles song hit me in the feels. The backstory, linked to in that post, is pretty cool as well.
  • Most of us know Bach via the piano, like the Goldberg Variations played by the masterful Glenn Gould. But most of his music was actually composed for different instruments, including the lautenwerck, which is a type of Harpsichord. They really don’t exist anymore, but here is Bach, played as he would have been heard over 300 years ago, on a lautenwerck.
  • From the MOMA archives, this black and white film from 1902 of footage shot from a suspended train in Germany. It feels almost like proto-drone footage.
  • I don’t understand 100% of the science here, but scientists at MIT used lasers to convert spider webs to music. Since spiders are vibration sensitive, this could make it possible to actually communicate with spiders (!) as well as understand how they design and build their webs. It’s fascinating, and there is a video in that link that shows what a web “sounds like” as it’s being built.

* * *

Well, that is it for this week. I hope you have a great week, and that your life is filled with beautiful things. If you see something beautiful this week, I hope you will let me know about it, and if one of my five I shared today struck you in a special way, I hope you will let me know about that, too.

If you want to support this project, you can sign up to be a Patron or buy me a book or throw me some cash or, especially, forward this email to your friends. And if someone did forward this to you, you can get your own subscription here.

Take care of yourself. And each other. 
Hugh Hollowell Jr

Take care of yourself. And each other. 

Hugh Hollowell Jr

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