It is amazing where one can find beauty if we just slow down and look for it. Everyone thinks of flowers, sunsets/rises, mountain meadows and vistas, landscapes and the like and can appreciate the beauty to be found in such images. It’s understandable and I am no different. But sometimes, we have to open ourselves to new vistas and ideas to see something that we would have previous either totally ignored or discarded outright as something not worth seeing.
That happened to me about a week ago when I went to Old Car City to take pictures of old automobiles, abandoned to rust and rest in the Georgia woods, interspersed among the pine trees and undergrowth. I expected to find some interesting cars and peeling paint that would be interesting, but little did I expect to find beauty in the broken windshields and side windows of many of these vehicles! In fact, I probably would have walked right past these visual treasures and not paid any attention to them if not for another photographer there who was kind enough to tell me that he was shooting the glass. That spurred my awareness and I began to look for busted glass, too.
Today’s photo is just one of many I took that day. I’ll probably share some more (I’ll probably create a Facebook album of broken glass photos – among other things – from my day in the woods with old cars) in the future.
But, the thought comes to me: how many people do we discard in life just because we think they are not beautiful? They may be broken inside or outside, or both, but they are still beautiful in some way if we just take the time to look and not pass them by.
I hope that today you’ll take some time to give some of those around you a second glance – to intentionally try to see the beauty they possess – and to appreciate others just a bit more!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1996, U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid transferred to the Russian space station Mir from the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for a planned five-month stay. Lucid was the first female U.S. astronaut to live in a space station.
Lucid, a biochemist, shared Mir with Russian cosmonauts Yuri Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachev, conducting scientific experiments during her stay. Beginning in August, her scheduled return to Earth was delayed more than six weeks because of last-minute repairs to the booster rockets of Atlantis and then by a hurricane. Finally, on September 26, 1996, she returned to Earth aboard Atlantis, touching down at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Her 188-day sojourn aboard Mir set a new space endurance record for an American and a world endurance record for a woman.
Life on Mir was an adjustment. Lucid took only sponge baths the whole six months on board, and could only wash her hair every three days using a special no-rinse shampoo that NASA devised. She did have privacy because she had a separate module and toilet from the men. She fought loneliness by exercising, sending e-mail messages to her husband and children, and participating in press conferences and teleconferences. Though she eagerly awaited the next shipment of potato chips and M&Ms dropped off by the Russian robot supply ship Progress, she noted that the fruit and vegetable deliveries caused a bad odor in the ship. But she did enjoy the fresh tomatoes and onions, and their Sunday night Jell-O ritual was also a treat.
Finally, in late September 1996, Lucid left Mir for her pickup shuttle. After her craft touched down in Florida on September 26, doctors and assistants planned to carry her to a medical transporter. But Lucid surprised the experts by standing and walking “wobbly and woozy,” as she described it – to her vehicle. When Lucid reached the transporter, a Newsweek writer reported, “physicians began exhaustive tests to determine how weightlessness had affected her heart, muscles, bones, blood, urine, saliva, balance, strength, aerobic capacity-in short, anything that can be measured, observed, titrated, counted or otherwise quantified.” In this way Lucid became “the most important body of data-literally-that NASA ever got its stethoscopes on.” She would spend three years being monitored.
A day after returning to Earth, Lucid left Cape Canaveral aboard NASA 1 and landed at Ellington Field outside Houston. President Clinton met the entire Atlantis crew, where the commander in chief praised Lucid’s achievement as ‘a monument to the human spirit.’ Lucid smiled on the podium behind him, a big Stars and Stripes fluttering in the stiff breeze behind her. To no one’s surprise this time, either, she was still standing tall.” Lucid was awarded a Space Medal of Honor in December 1996, and in February of 1997, received a Free Spirit Award from the Freedom Forum.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Because alcohol dilutes itself in the water volume of the body in order to travel through it, vital organs that contain a lot of water (such as the brain) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol.