On Monday a fierce autumn wind was shaking trees and tearing leaves ruthlessly away from their branches. The splendor of October is now being swept away to be followed by the stark beauty of November. The last few weeks have provided a visual feast, treating us with the sparkling light and extravagant colors of the Québec fall. This ultimate abundance seems to me as nature’s way to saturate our souls and senses so that we may better welcome the austerity of winter.

It is an interesting lesson in thinking about beauty and its many opposite forms. What is beauty, we may ask? How does one define it? There are probably as many meanings for beauty as there are individuals. But I believe that, deep inside us, we all have a yearning for it.

Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue brings a sensitive and profound definition of beauty in the following interview with Krista Tippet:

Beauty isn’t all about just nice, loveliness like. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming. So I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.

John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue — The Inner Landscape of Beauty

I admire how O’Donohue articulates such elusive thoughts and stimulates a resonance in our minds with his words. Such is the power of poetry. There is a stirring going on inside me and I feel as if I understand beauty in all its magnificence.

Being neither a philosopher nor a poet, I find defining beauty a bit daunting. In fact, it is quite difficult. But I am drawn to it in all its forms and I like to explore this notion with my own tools, which are color and paint. I may stumble, but what keeps me going is the hope of somehow communicating my own wonderment of this mystery.

Louise Jalbert, “October Foliage”, 2016, Watercolor on paper, 15 x 22 inches