Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/12/2004: "The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen"

Does anyone remember that weird kid in "American Beauty" who shows his girlfriend the video he shot of the plastic bag being lifted about on air currents and tells her it's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen? I had one of those moments tonight...I was driving home from work and there were a crazy number of pure white sea birds (gulls?) on the tidal flats foraging for salmon. The whole drive home stinks like hell because the salmon are spawning and dying and floating about in the Channel. Anyway, I happened to look up, out the front of my truck window, and saw a worm's eye vie of one of these white birds in front of perfect blue sky. It doesn't sound like much, but for a moment I was actually stunned at how amazing it looked. I actually got all teary eyed and everything. Now, maybe that wasn't the most beautiful thing I've ever seen (I saw some Northern Lights once that were so intense they freaked me out a little) but it was pretty amazing just the same.

I'd love to hear what others think was the most beautiful thing they've ever seen (and you can't say your new born child because that's a given)...

Here's a fun thing I do when I get bored at the Reference Desk. I like to do exact phrase searches in google on "the craziest thing I ever did was" or "he was so drunk he" or in the case above "the most beautiful thing I ever saw" or "the scariest thing I ever saw" etc. I can think of these forever. They pull up all kinds of weird shit. The important thing is to put the search in quotation marks. Also, if you did a search like "I * living in Juneau" It would pull up pages that say: I love living in Juneau, or I hate living in Juneau, or I am living in Juneau, etc. I teach advanced online searching and so I do this in the name of testing their searching features.

And speaking of working on the Reference Desk. Today a toothless man in his 40s came in and told me: "I've been taken over by evil spirits and I need to find a book that will tell me how to get rid of them". I had to help the guy with a straight face. We looked up lots of stuff on exocisims and I asked him if he'd spoken with a religious leader and he said that he had, but the priest who normally gets rid of his demons for him is in Seattle on vacation. woah! He was a very inteligent and sincere person too...he spent hours doing the research.

Replies: 3 Comments

on Friday, August 13th,">Jackie said

E:One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen was: many years ago, in Kodiak, I was outside. As I came up from the beach towards the house, a golden light enveloped everything - it was the sun, behind a gossamer layer of clouds/fog or something - I've never experienced this kind of light phenomenon since. But it was as if everything outside was bathed in golden honey, or glowing. It was as if the light came from within the grass, trees, rocks, ocean. I just stood on the hill, turning in a circle, looking all around me as I was enveloped in this golden glow. It seemed the air was crackling with electricity too -so perhaps there was some ball-lighting or something, though I think that's usually blue. It lasted for quite a few minutes. When I went into the house to tell my mother, of course, the light went away before we came back outside.

on Friday, August 13th,">Elise said

I hope I don't offend you Jackie, your story sounds really beautiful...but in college my friends and I used to joke about having an E0: Environmental Orgasm! Your experience would definitely qualify.

on Friday, August 13th,">Jackie said

E: no offense taken! That's actually pretty funny! Of course there are other possiblities - that it was hallucogen-related experience (it was not), or caused by mental illness (it was not - I was certainly sane back then when this happened - don't know if I can say that now).