“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?”
– a quote from the Donna Tartt novel, Goldfinch.
So, though handmade pots aren’t magnificent paintings, the simple mug, that for some reason gives you a short shot of pleasure, maybe helps you to pay attention to that morning coffee, or the morning light coming through the translucent porcelain cup. The rice bowl, the rim, that swirls around the warm oatmeal on a cold day. Little pleasures like this, and so many others awaken me to a small beauty, and give me a path to experience something larger and indeed magnificent, like the following Mary Oliver poem:
Franz Marc’s Blue Horses
I step into the painting of the four blue horses.
I am not even surprised that I can do this.
One of the horses walks toward me.
His blue nose noses me lightly, I put my arm
over his blue mane, not holding on, just
He allows me my pleasure.
Franz Marc died a young man, shrapnel in his brain.
I would rather die than try to explain to the blue horses
what war is.
They would either faint in horror, or simply
find it impossible to believe.
I do not know how to thank you, Franz Marc.
Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful
is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
Now all four horses have come closer,
are bending their faces toward me
as if they have secrets to tell.
I don’t expect them to speak, and they don’t.
If being so beautiful isn’t enough, what
could they possibly say?