The world is full of visual Beauty. A silver lake midst ice-worn cliffs in northern Ontario; the night sky above that lake; and - yes - women.
Thursday evening saw me graced by the prescence of Beauty in human form. While we sat across from one another, talking and laughing, I was in thrall to the small movements of her mouth and eyes, the shifting tilt of her head, the way her hair framed her face, her round cheeks, perfectly imperfect teeth and pouting lips.
Though I was not - thank god - rendered speechless, I was almost literally unable to look away from her. Like a subtle painting, it seemed I could gaze at it for an eternity, with always more to discover. I felt joyful, to exist in such a world, where such beauty walks; and blessed, to be allowed such close proximity.
She is also, of course, a person - a very smart, very funny person, who will (I hope!) forgive me this objectification.
This strong a reaction to a woman's looks is a rare one for me. In high school it happened twice. First was an ongoing, unrequited infatuation. The second - also in high school, came during an acid trip, when my friend Michelle Albert - wearing a vaguelly naval style cap, an army jacket and tapered jeans, holding a branch she had found to use as a walking stick, for a while seemed to me an elf out of Middle Earth, Galadriel in mortal garb. The third, was with Elizabeth DiFrancesco, a woman I met in Peterborough, and with whom I had a brief, not very happy affair.
I have met many women, of course, whom I thought beautiful, or sexy, or both. I have even been fortunate (or, sometimes, unfortunate) enough to be romantically involved with some of them. But neither "beautiful" and "sexy" represent what I "saw" in Thursday's company (though she is also both those things). What I saw felt like an almost spiritual response to physical aesthetics.
I know from personal experience that a spiritual experience is often a short-lived thing; and I wonder if (if she does forgive me this embarassing dithyramb), the next time we meet, I will see her in the same, luminous, spectra - or if she will once again, as she was the first time we met, be "only" an attractive woman I am happy to think is becoming a friend.