Perceiving every place as a temple is a life-changing skill.
Great anecdotes and photos! I guess you’re not a Cajun with a name like Foreman but you’re the real deal. Regarding beauty, I’d say you’re right, and you’re right--I’m glad you wrote both essays. They complement one another.
I love these photos from your family store. How great was the old timestamp!! I also think there's so much to unpack in your astute comparison of ancient temple cults and Mount Hollywood. Also, speaking of anti-beauty, after I returned from my first trip to Jerusalem several years ago I was surprised that the number of photos I had on my phone of famous pilgrimage sites was outnumbered by surreptitious shots of the city's many bedraggled cats.
Thank you for sharing this, Taylor. I’m so in tune with this type of reflections that some passages of this piece gave me goosebumps. And the photos and the story of your family store and the people. I’m overwhelmed (in such a positive way). “So much real beauty is to be found in the forgotten corners of the world that it makes striving for personal “greatness” look pathetic.” -- amen. I’ll be returning to this essay again and again.
Loved this. My first full on sobbing while reading Substack. Thank you for pointing to the forgotten places, like here. And now.
I like your arguments here, but I disagree that your previous essay about the real Temples was incorrect. I think the only reason we can even recognize beauty in our daily lives, in the people around us, and so on, is that we recognize a bit of God and heaven in them. And the only way we know what those are like is from visiting real temples and churches, and reading about them in our fiction and holy texts, and hearing stories about them, and seeing pictures of them, and so on.
We can't just spend all our times in temples anyways. Even if we were priests, we'd get accustomed to them. Same thing with gorgeous mountains or other natural landscapes. Plus we have to go back to our "normal" lives eventually and be around dirty and dumb and greedy people who are just as bad as ourselves. But going to those places are good reminders of the beauty within our routine lives, and the beauty that lies beyond them, in the eternal, in the invisible. They inspire us to be better, and to recognize the wealth of each individual, even in ourselves, when we act less than perfect.
We need both.