Of architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, "The mission of an architect is to help people understand how to make life more beautiful, the world a better one for living in, and to give reason, rhyme, and meaning to life."
Architecture fascinates me as an interdisciplinary study of art, math, engineering, psychology and environment; a sort of countervailing blend of societal and personal; requiring objectivity in design and subjectivity in interpretation.
We take architectural design for granted. (Perhaps, some strip malls and monster boxes deserve it. Oh how we've ruined our suburbiscapes.)
But when disparate materials clash and blend and move into space, architectural harmony pursues human experience. It seems almost miraculous how certain buildings and bridges and universities and temples stand. My favorite courthouse in America sits on Boston Harbor, a federal building with interstellar imagination.
I'm jealous of architects. Poets too. One recognizes beauty in practical human creation and the other describes it. Recognizing beauty is a gift.
Until John arrived, my meaningful life was filled with frivolity and without much recognition for the beauty and design of basic life. Much of this frivolity was essential to my sense of self. Going here, going there. Doing this, acquiring that. Feeling offended, serving judgment. Being seen, going to that very important thing, having the best whatever. The frivolity, so important to my day, absorbed my energy.
Since John, an entirely different frivolity feeds my energy. A frivolity by design. The best way I spend my day is being frivolous with my son. Sitting, laying, laughing, walking, holding. Making funny noises, explaining basic utensils, reading funny books. And, there is no end to these means. There is no goal in mind. I haven't read a single child-rearing book, and I don't know if raspberries on tummies raise IQ or support sensory awareness or enhance interpersonal skills or make a kid poop. I just know John laughs when I do it and then I laugh when he laughs. Our frivolity together, our time, seems to me the most important thing I can do or ever will do in my life. Just for the sake of itself.
I hope my son sees beauty the way architects do or poets describe. I hope he designs his frivolity in favor of tummy raspberries. I hope he recognizes, earlier than I did, what it means to give reason, rhyme, and meaning to life.