To look around at the natural world is to encounter a plenitude of gorgeousness. The clouds, trees, flowers, glittering waters, birds, chipmunks and other furry things are stunningly beautiful at no charge. This is a truly smashing time of year too. Late spring brings a wealth of delightful vibrancy and a promise of more to come. Beauty has a power of affirmation about it, it opens the heart and softens the breath and quiets the mind with awe. All these causes are deeply needed tonics for our fast moving, high pressure lifestyle. “Stop and smell the roses” is a great and wise dictum. Stop and watch the sunset too.

How can a place of such extraordinary gorgeousness not be Heaven? Left unchecked by the interventions of mankind the natural order produces stunning landscapes, breathtaking mountains, fascinating minute plants and creatures, stars that stop the mind’s chatter and on and on. We hurry about trying to improve it all, making things and arts to make it better and yet all we need do is stop and take it in as the gift of glory that this realm is. Even the harsh salt flats, bare deserts, deep inhospitable (to us) ocean exhibit stunning beauty.

As a spiritual practice, recognizing beauty may lead to devotion and become a profound and transformative step toward fully embracing unconditional love. It is at once a gentle and a viselike path for once the eyes open and the world bursts into full color of exquisiteness there is no going back. Beauty will forever grab your attention entice you into rapturous blankness, staring at a sunset, peering at a tiny insect or into the center of a flower. Beauty leads one to a state of wonder and reminds us daily and even many times a day that the magic of creation is far beyond our understanding.

Beauty is always surprising. I am forever awed by the exquisiteness of a rose; it’s fragrance, it’s color, it’ vigor. I have seen fully blooming roses on the streets of New York City in December.

My personal exploration of beauty this spring has been gardening in my own garden and watching the Battery Park gardens here at the tip of Manhattan grow into the first season. I think after 25 years of gardening I finally get my own garden from watching the Battery Conservancy for the last couple of years. Check them out they are truly gorgeous.