Beauty or Utility?

Frank Naugo Blog Leave a Comment

After I’m done with the workday, I generally go out for a stroll through the neighborhood to unwind, get some fresh air and move my bones.  

One of the things I enjoy doing on these walks is to check out how people choose to care for their homes and yards.  How they like to landscape, what flowers they plant, how meticulously they care for their lawns.  I live on the outer limits of the city where it’s mostly single family homes but with exceptionally small yards and it’s fascinating to see what lengths some people go through to ornament their dwelling spaces while for others it’s seems clear their priorities are elsewhere.  

The other day I took notice of a corner section of a neighbor’s yard that was filled in with plain, white rocks, some golf ball sized and some larger – say, cantaloupe sized.  I recalled how this same corner would regularly have tire tracks crossing through it as cars would make the turn too tightly and tear up the sod that was laid there previously.  I remembered seeing it quite muddy there on wet days.  While not beautiful, by any means, I thought “well, that solves that problem”.  

I continued on my walk and eventually took notice of another house with a similar corner to the one I’d previously seen.  However, this corner was not filled in with rocks but rather was beautifully landscaped with a combination of perennial and annual plants and flowers.  It was clear how well this design was thought through and the care that went into planting and keeping this section of the yard looking the way that it did.  Again, I thought to myself “well, that solves that problem”.   But, as I thought more about it I guessed the person caring for this yard probably doesn’t even think there’s a problem to be solved in the first place. Of course, I have no idea what either owner was thinking because I didn’t see them out there and didn’t ask…but sometimes these random thoughts and observations help to hold up a mirror for me in how I’m living my life and approaching each day.  

How often am I looking at life as a series of problems to solve?  What would be my reaction to the people driving their cars across a section of my yard and would I choose to address that?  If so, how?  

When faced with something that needs repair in my life do I choose beauty or utility?  Do I take great care, or, do I slap something together? 

We can be such marvelous teachers for one another.  All you have to do is take a few moments, stroll through your neighborhood and have a look around.  

Hope to have you take a stroll through our virtual community some time, have a look around and join us for some reflection, support and togetherness.  

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