Black Raspberries and the Beauty of Life

How do you determine visual beauty? Is it purely subjective, a matter of taste? Is it based on color, or shape, or texture?

Some recent research suggests that one way we recognize and appreciate beauty is when an object has symmetry. An example is a person’s face when eyes are level and equidistant from the nose. We seem to have a natural tendency to prefer symmetry in our surroundings, such as when we place a centerpiece on our dining room table. (Even the name “center”piece assumes the center!)  Of course, some of us need to clear our table to make room for decoration of any kind.

A couple years ago I had apple trees in my backyard cut down. A kind friend chainsawed the logs but I’ve done little with it since except burn some of the smaller pieces in my fireplace. I’ve let those two areas of my yard “go,” and weeds, thistles, and much to my delight, a fresh crop of black raspberries have appeared around the woodpiles.

Blackberries in my backyard, July 2014
Black raspberries in my backyard, July 2014

Black raspberries are quite beautiful, symmetrical and deeply colored. They are hardy and easy to pick.  My favorite summer “wild” fruit, red raspberries, are delicate and fall apart quickly, leaving their red stain. But these black raspberries are delightful.  The birds have noticed too, but they seem not to have taken their fair share yet.

Sometimes my life seems like the black raspberry (symmetrical and hardy), other times like the red raspberry (delicate and falling apart!) But both fruits add beauty, the black raspberry amid the weeds and forgotten wood.