“Beauty as food for the soul” comes from C.S. Lewis. The theme of beauty remained a central thread throughout Lewis’s life.
In fact, Jack (C.S. Lewis’s self-chosen childhood nickname) described himself as a beauty hunter. He spent his life seeking to find that place where all the beauty came from and of course he found it, our magnificent creator God. And that pursuit nurtured his work. Beauty, for Lewis, began in the simple beauty of the landscape and transposed itself into the literature Lewis came to love and master.
The more you study Lewis and his writing, the more you find a man of simple yet robust tastes. A man who took the time to imbibe the simplicity of the beauty around him. It was no frivolous pursuit. Beauty, as it turned out, was food for the soul.
Lewis enjoyed the habit of walking the garden before breakfast in order to drink in “the beauty of the morning, thanking God for the weather, the roses, the song of the birds, and anything else he could find to enjoy.”
His brother, Warren Lewis noted:
“Jack’s mind was developing and flowering on lines as unpolitical as can be imagined. His letters of the time are full of landscape and romance: they record his discovery of George MacDonald—a turning point in his life—and his first and characteristic delight in Chaucer, Scott, Malory, the Brontës, William Morris, Coleridge, de Quincey, Spenser, Swinburne, Keats.”
When was the last time you took a walk only to pick out the beauties surrounding you, thanking God for them? If you’re anything like me, it’s been too long.
You don’t have to be a literary giant, a great philosopher, or a mystic to understand and appreciate beauty. You just have to be willing to take a walk and, as Tolstoy says, look around you.
“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” Leo Tolstoy