There are places that capture you, places that you hold close. Like a firefly in a cupped hand, these places bring your features to light, and give you a sense of wonder.
Some places remind you how good you can be.
I feel that way by the Chesapeake Bay, as the sky drapes herself in her rosy veil and the sand is warm under my toes. I am home.
When I run on the Colorado prairie, I lose myself in my movement, in the crisp air, in the white-capped peaks, and I am home.
Over the long weekend, I traveled to Newport, Rhode Island with a good friend to see our other good friend. This friend, K, had recently relocated to the area with her family. And in this land of gilded mansions and crisp blue waters, my friend had found her home.
She's a beautiful woman, and Newport has a formal elegance that serves her well. She thinks when she opens her closet, and each outing is an opportunity to celebrate color, flair, and the sheer pleasure of looking her best.
For me, it was like visiting the moon. When my friends mentioned a person named Lily Pulitzer, I almost asked, "Is that your friend?" I eventually figured out it was a fashion designer.
As we toured the Vanderbilt mansions, my Protestant mind drifted towards the cost, the extravagance, and how difficult it must have been to clean the salt water off all those windows. Although I admired the architecture and especially the skylights, I continued to think, "This is such a fantasy."
I was mentally most at peace when we toured the kitchens. I can get behind a gleaming copper pot much more than a gold-leaf encrusted "morning room."
But a funny thing happened around day two: I discovered the role of beauty once again.
As I walked into rooms that were so lovely that I gasped, I remembered that inspired living can inspire.
One feels refined when drinking juice from a hand-blown glass. A vase of white peonies soothe and stimulate. And while there is much to be said for comfort, it's hard to beat the rush of wearing an amazing pair of high heels.
I bought a dress--a coral sleeveless wonder. My friends let me borrow shoes, earrings, a wrap. I looked nice.
However, it was not the accessories or the dress or even the stunning location that helped me rediscover beauty.
It was the love of my two friends. My second family. The people in my life who will always, always see each other as beautiful.