We are surrounded by beauty. Sometimes, we are surrounded by beautiful things without even knowing it.

The image I give to you today in honor of Earth Day celebrates the ephemeral and eternal. Taken by photographer Michael Clothier, it is a study in texture and contrast:

The model is photographed with bath tissue in order to develop the skill, as a photographer, of conveying texture within a black-and-white image where the paper is white and everything else in the image is darker. How do you get the paper’s texture to appear without losing the exposure of the rest of the image?

Earth Day is like that. How do we look around us at the natural world and realize that we are living on the only planet we have? The polar bears drowning in the Arctic cannot call on the telephone, or email, yet their plight is as urgent as any text message – more so, because if we continue to turn a blind eye to their fate we will soon follow them to oblivion.

It’s easy to succumb to a numb sort of despair or statis when faced with these kinds of problems. To my way of thinking, beauty is the same way: we know a beautiful painting or photograph, but we are, many times, blind to the everyday beauty around us. The image above appeals to me because of its contrasts: a lovely woman, pedestrian tissue paper, a sense of serenity, and the knowledge of the transitory nature of life in the form of throwaway paper.

As you go through your week, I invite you to remember you are part of a great circle, and not only the circle formed by this blog hop. It’s important to remember the role we play in that circle, but it is ALSO important to remember that to take solace, to read and laugh, make love and dinner, all of these things are just as necessary to life as is toilet tissue in the right context.

Happy Earth Day.

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