explore beauty – a challenge

What is it you find beautiful?  Based on what I know of most of my faithful friends here in blogland, it’s not going to be that pretty pop star whose photo was manipulated to “perfection” for the cover of Rolling Stone.  I could look at Bob Dylan’s face and find mountains more beauty than I can in hers.  But that’s me.  My definition of beauty is formed by where I came from, my ideals, my age, my interests, my education – and my needs.  What about you?  What defines beauty in your world?

I find old train tracks beautiful.  And forgotten corners of cottage yards.  And broken down old sheds.  And my mother’s hands.  The way a little kid darts around his father repeating “Da-a-d…?” as they walk toward the Air Canada Center to the hockey game.  Or the stunning gradation of the sky as it was the other night – from breathtaking orange to the deep royal blue housing that delicate sliver of a crescent moon.  Or Santana’s rendering of Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock.  The soft traces of humming I hear coming from the woman with the beatific smile who sits on the other side of my office cubicle.  The bowl on my table filled with sweet potatoes, beets, Bosc pears, an acorn squash and some bulbs of garlic – a haul from the market last week.  Giant ropes coiled on the decks of ships.

What is beautiful to you?  I challenge you to explore it:

Find 101 examples of beauty, and show, tell, list or write them.  Photographs, songs, poems, paintings, crafts – however it is you tell your story. 

There is no timeframe, because the number target may seem high to you.  (It won’t for long – trust me.)  And modify the challenge to suit you.  Do it once a week and it could become an ongoing topic for a year.  Find a few things a day, the project could last a month.  Sit down for a few hours and you could finish a list in one go!  Maybe you’re not ready just now.  Or maybe you are stumbling across this challenge six months from now.  Any time is a good time to start. 

Feel free to grab the badge below and put in your sidebar if you like, as a reminder of where to find inspiration in an uninspired or down period.  And that, really, is the point.  Where the doldrums take over – finding beauty brings inspiration back. 

Exploring Beauty 
Why 101 things?  I just like odd numbers better than even ones.  It’s only a number and who knows, maybe the term “101” will just be a symbolic sort of thing, representing “my collection” or “my exploration.”  I just know that for me, it’s a topic I need to return to time and time again, and I’m hoping it will turn into something of an extended exploration here. 

If you do take part, be sure to let me know (as well as the tag or category you’ll use, if you wish) and I’ll list a link to your blog on this dedicated page. 

After all – it’s really beauty that I’m searching for in Realia every day.  I’d venture to say it’s what we’re all looking for. 

Others Exploring Beauty

The Streaming Now

Menopausal Stoners

My Missing Life (“doing a few”)

 Right Motherhood

The Querulous Squirrel


  1. Reply
    Susannah February 10, 2011

    Hey Jennifer,
    I have made a dedicated page on The Streaming Now for the challenge – the url is http://thestreamingnow.blogspot.com/p/exploring-beauty-101-things-challenge.html
    My first entry is up. I am looking forward to it.
    Great idea. 🙂

  2. Reply
    Jennifer February 10, 2011

    Hi Susannah! I get your link posted up here as soon as possible. Looking forward to your exploration!

  3. Reply
    Tricia February 14, 2011

    Okay – I’m in. Suspect it’s just what the doctor ordered.

  4. Reply
    Jennifer February 14, 2011

    I’m really glad to hear it Tricia, I know you thought about it last year. Really looking forward to reading.

  5. Reply

    Hi Jennifer,
    I found my way here via Susannah and I have happily taken up the challenge: there can’t be many such joyful challenges!
    Thank you for this.

  6. Reply
    Jennifer June 26, 2011

    Alice I’m glad to meet you. I’m glad you’re taking up the challenge, and I look forward to finding YOUR sense of beauty.
    Thank YOU.

  7. Reply
    Sheryl January 11, 2012

    I love you Jen….

  8. Reply
    Jennifer January 11, 2012

    I love you too Sheryl. In fact, you’re beautiful thing number eighty-two.

  9. Reply
    Jennifer West May 25, 2012

    Beauty can mean so many things. It can pertain to the physical appearance or character of a person. For others, it may mean the need to enhance a physical feature through means such as plastic surgery. It all depends on the person’s belief towards beauty. Anyway, what’s important is that you are what you believe in, and it shows when you’re confident about it.

  10. Reply
    Jennifer May 25, 2012

    Thanks Jennifer. I am much more on the ‘character of a person’ side of things, and that’s much more about what this challenge was about. I see beauty in a person’s face when his or her character is evident in it, such as gorgeous laugh lines or knowing eyes. As I said in some post early on in this endeavour, I find mountains more beauty in Bob Dylan’s broody, craggy face than some plastic movie star one. Beauty has many layers, and I love to uncover them.

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