An Hour of Beauty

I’m reading a book of essays by Kim Stafford, whose work I recently discovered and who instantly became a favorite of mine. In one piece, he relates that during her pregnancy, his grandmother was prescribed “an hour of beauty” each day.  She was to do no chores during that time and spend an hour on something beautiful. She could sit and admire the sunset. She could do a painting.  She could take the  beautifully colored scraps she had collected and begin piecing a quilt — anything that qualified as something in which she found beauty. Kim is near my age and this was a couple of generations ago, so his grandmother didn’t have the conveniences and amenities that we have access to now —  and because I suspect there were always plenty of chores that needed to be done, it was probably more difficult than it would be now, to take an hour from the day and do nothing but appreciate beauty. When I read that essay, I thought how enlightened that doctor was and what good advice he had given. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful prescription, not only during pregnancy — but always — to set aside an hour each day for beauty? Imagine if every medical school in the world required the teaching of that concept? I’m off to initiate my own personal hour, right now.

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