14. The Sense of Beauty

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If you’ve ever driven on the back roads of the Southeastern United States, then you’ve probably seen it painted on the roofs of old barns or farmhouses: “See Rock City.” I’m told that my great grandfather ran a general store, and I think the “Rock City” advertisement was painted on his store’s roof as well. I’ve seen or heard those words all my life but never really stopped to seriously ask what it was or where it was. This morning my interest took me to Rock City.

During the Depression a man named Garnet Carter thought to create a destination resort on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Carter thought the unusual outcropping of huge boulders and rocks on this part of the mountain made it a picturesque setting for a resort community. And with the help of his wife, Frieda, they began the design and construction of their vision. She planned the gardens and trails for visitors, while Carter planned a golf course. Interestingly enough, during one of the development phases Carter also had the idea of building a small miniature golf (putting) course, the first of its kind. And today, he is credited with founding miniature golf. Rock City, it’s an interesting place locked within those stone-faced mountains of Tennessee. It’s good to finally know where it is. (To find out more click here).

The world is full of interesting people and places. But it’s funny that you can be around something all your life and never really come to know it. I think familiarity sometimes leads to blindness, making you feel like the world is dull and unchanging.

I think that taking an interest in things is a key element in building a greater depth and sense of beauty. Interest drives you to question familiar things and opens the door to your discovering the rich and hidden meaning of your culture and your surroundings.

Children, having not yet been blinded by familiarity, see everything as beautiful and new; I think that’s why they’re so much fun. Wouldn’t it be great to see through the eyes of a child and find everything to be new? I think you can.

Day 14 Guide

This weekend, pick out something familiar in your surroundings — something that maybe you’ve seen or heard for years but have never really taken an interest in. Learn as much as you can about it.

The key here is to begin developing the habit of discovery, constantly searching for things to delight your senses and your intellect. The familiar things become new when you take an interest. See Rock City.

© 2005, Levi Hill

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