We’re not born with a sense of beauty. It happens, around the time we realize we’re not everything we see; around the time we stub a toe on the itness and thatness of the world.
If memory serves, and sometimes it doesn’t, my early childhood was spent in the constant company of beauty, but it was company I took for granted. It was the only childhood I knew.
The realization that beauty is something other than myself crept up slowly and probably started with music. When Grieg’s Morning Song joined Peter Cottontail on my hit parade. Or maybe the first time I appreciated something that wasn’t edible or rideable or in any way useful or fun.
Take my friend, Niffer. She was five, and couldn’t read, throw a baseball, or count to ten. But she could do something I couldn’t do – she could be pretty. No matter how I tried, I could never make my lips tilt that way, the perfect bow and soft twist at each corner.
Niffer enchanted, effortlessly. Well, that’s one of the secrets of the enchanters – practice can make you better at some things, but it will never make you effortless.
I can’t believe Elizabeth Taylor is dead. Mainly because, didn’t it seem like she was always dying? Making headlines for being, constantly and surprisingly, undead?
I haven’t seen many Elizabeth Taylor movies. I find her early childhood movies rather unsettling– she carries the head of an exquisite thirty year old woman on the same body we all have at eight. Not that she looks “knowing,” just perfectly formed. In later movies, though her body changes, the face holds a constant note for the next two decades or so.
Must be fun to grow up and find you’re the most beautiful human being alive – or a credible competitor for that title, anyway. The big difference between our life experiences is, well, everything, but started on the day I discovered I wasn’t the rose.
She shared the rarified air with others who are most privileged from birth – the Einsteins, Mozarts. When your gift is beyond gifted, you don’t have to play a hand expertly or even competently. You just have whatever you want in the world, that’s all. That’s your normal; that’s your business as usual.
Taylor didn’t seem to mind when all her exquisiteness went away. When she was all caftans and bubble hair-do’s and bangles – looking not unlike a well-preserved grandmother from Miami Beach.
Maybe when you’ve been a rose for so long, you just know it’s there, branded, in your heart.
Yesterday, I read something Debbie Reynolds said. “Elizabeth loved her charity work, good-looking men and dirty jokes.”
And all of a sudden, I liked Elizabeth Taylor, and was sorry she died. We probably could have spent a nice evening splitting a cheesecake or a scotch. When it comes to earthly delights, maybe we shared some common ground.