What is the Most Beautiful Thing You Have Ever Seen?

I asked myself this question just now, and it’s surprisingly hard to qualify, depending on where I was in my life. For example, at twelve, I went to Montana for a month to visit extended family, and my breath caught in my throat at the scenery - majestic mountain lakes, forest streams, summer green pine woods and fields, small colorful towns at the base of snowcapped Rockies - I treasure memories of that trip twenty years later. If I had to put a single image to that month, it would be my seventeen year old cousins setting off Forth of July sparkler bombs at the edge of a 75 foot tall grove of trees, beside a quick flowing stream.

A year later, I was a sullen thirteen year old, standing at the lip of the Grand Canyon. A day and a half in Dad’s Volvo, five seater to five family members, and I could not give less of a shit. We were en-rout to Vegas, and I was tired, hot, car sick, and wanted to sleep. The sun was setting over the most gorgeous site in the country, and I have no memories of any awe. It must have been gorgeous, but I feel like I haven’t really seen it.

The winner might be Yosemite Park in January, sitting with my best friend in a huge mountain lodge, sipping hot coco as snow flurries fell outside of fifteen foot high, picturesque windows beside us. Even thinking back to it now it doesn’t seem like it could have been real, it was so peaceful.

I tend toward landscapes, but I’m not certainly not limiting answers to them.

I couldn’t begin to answer that question. Natural things tend to attract me most but I constantly find myself marveling at the beauty of something. I just wish I would have traveled more in my life.

When my son walked out of the jetway, coming home from Afghanistan, his 2 younger sisters were nearly climbing the walls to get to him. That was the most beautiful thing, as he dropped his seabag and jumped the rope and picked them both up at once, tears were running, I tell ya. They got applause in the airport! Of course they were bickering before we got home.

So many memories…

I could pick the Grand Tetons, reflecting perfectly off a clear mountain lake, or the Grand Canyon (go back sometime, it truly is Grand), Urulu (used to be called Ayers Rock) or the herd of buffalo passing my car at literally arm’s length in Yellowstone, and enough waterfalls on five continents to amaze and astound…

But I think I would have to say the dawn flight on a hot air balloon over the Masai Maru in Kenya, seeing the sun rise over the vast herds of East Africa, seeing them start and run from the shadow we were casting, hearing the grunts of thousands upon thousands of Wildebeest, seeing the pride of lions circled about their early-morning kill…Nothing is going to beat that in my memory…but I’ve still got some traveling to do, so you never know…

Sangre De Cristo mountain range, south west of Pueblo Colorado :slight_smile:

The Babbage Difference Engine…

My Grandmother’s old gold-and-brass carriage clock…

My Grandmother’s old gold-and-brass music box…

(I’m a real sucker for “gear-punk.”)

Trixie dog.

Came out the back door one morning and my Welsh pony had foaled. The colt was just standing on four long, thin, wobbly legs and boy was he beautiful.

I was going to check out a cabin to rent near Whitethorn Ca. the cabin was on dirt road and it been raining a lot . That the end of the road there was a cliff and there a small waterfall was falling over the cliff forming a small pool
of water and a deer was drinking from the pool. I was hooked and rented the cabin. The other beautiful I saw in the mountain was a moon beam , the air was on clean you could see the moon beam ,this was the only time I saw this . And my new born baby ! :slight_smile:

Simply too many. Bryce Canyon overloads the meter. But I was just at a Renoir exhibit in DC. Looking off the rise of the Organ Mountains down to the Mesilla valley in New Mexico. Moonrise over Shaw Bay in the Wye river, Eastern shore of Maryland. You just can’t get it down to one.

Ever? No way I could pick just one thing.

Most recently though, I got a real sense of peace and beauty on this rather mundane stretch of trail at Pinnacles National Park last weekend: On the Bear Gulch Trail

Undoubtedly the Caesarian birth of my daughter.

It was fascinating and wonderful. Through all the blood and guts I got handed this little human being who I co-created.

She came out of her mother crying and peeing, and was wrapped in a towel and handed to me right away.

My heart grew three times bigger at that moment.

The obvious one is my wife. The second would be the sunrise at the one history event I did where no signs of modern civilization were visible at all.

A big, fat, silver full moon hovering slightly over the ocean’s horizon off the big island of Hawai’i. It was a clear night and the ocean was calm, and the dappled streaky reflection seemed hundreds of miles long.

Can’t be sure of what I remember over the past many years, but recently just this past summer:

Lake Tahoe and surrounding pine-forested mountains (Truckee area), as seen from 16,500 feet in a sailplane. Totally spectacular!

Not my pictures, but similar from a web site I found:

Northstar ski resort, top center, Lake Tahoe at upper left, campground where I stayed this summer in the pine grove at lower left:

High-performance sailplane over the mountains. The glider I flew resembled this one. (No, I didn’t fly it alone. I was either with another pilot or with an instructor):

Lake Tahoe:

Source sites for these pictures and more:

ETA: Oh, and there was that flight where we saw a lightning storm from our front-row seats at 12,000 feet. :eek: Wish we had a GoPro running for that one!

I am from New Zealand. It’s hard to pin down one spot, but when I was 12, our School Trip was a week in the “wilderness”, two days of which was a hike through the Rees Valley. I was too young to properly appreciate it, as having lived amongst the rolling hills and mountains it didn’t seem all that special, but now I am desperate to one day go back and relive the adventure.

I have this amazing photo of the Celtling as a toddler. She is just coming up out of a ball pit, and her face is just pure joy and delight at where she is and playing with Mommy.

When I’m ready to just give up on the world that image keeps me going.

Being inside a shoal of silverside fish within caverns off East End, Grand Cayman while scuba diving. The sunlight pierces through holes in the top of the caverns lighting up the shoal as tarpon dart through trying to take a meal. It is sort of an ethereal light that glints off both predator and prey casting an amazing show along the cavern walls.

A petri dish full of foraminifera under a binocular microscope.

I resolved that I would think about this until I wept, and then blow my nose and write my report. Here it is: The sound and smell and feel of summer nights in The South in the 1940s.