A pondering about beautiful things


The black fades, and the figures in white appear. Each one unique, the tension between them is unwavering like a rubber band pulled tight. The music inhales. The shadeless, rustic lamps as tall the figures begin to click on.

Around and around in the blackened ballroom, the figures go. A thin fog settles over them like someone’s hot breath suspended in winter air. All the while, the lights flicker in tandem with the music. The deep, soulful words are accompanied by an even more moving performance.

A turn here. A jump there. The figures portray the music with each textured move. A sharp, desperate grab, and then a smooth, disillusioned melt. A carefully choreographed and beautifully executed kick flies in the air. The countenance attached contorts into a portrait of anguish, longing, and pain. Another figure almost hits the floor but is caught at the final moment.

The music hits its climax, swelling and crashing. The figures’ moves become more uniform as the music grows. The music breaks and with it, the figures. Lights darken and go out. With a final low and ominous piano note, the final light fades. Just like that, the video ends.

I stared at the screen as blank as my mind. My breath shuddered in my chest. Pent-up, my tears broke through the dam and streamed down my face. For minutes, I just sat there unable to pull myself together. My thoughts began to flit this way and that; I was unable to grasp them, to process them.

Why was I crying? The video was moderately sad, but not enough to warrant the mass of tears unleashed. Rather, it was its beauty that coerced the reaction from me. But why did something so beautiful make me cry?

The next day, I went back to that beautiful video, eager to be exposed to Kyle Hanagami’s exquisitely unusual choreography once more. Again, I was reduced to tears, however less. I found the more times I pressed play, the less and less moved I would be.


Why is it that the more times I watched it, the less enchanted I would be? It’s not because the dancers projected any less emotion or danced with any less meaning. It’s also not because I fell out of love with it.

Thinking about this reminded me of something I once heard: all beautiful things must come to an end. That is why there is a bitterness to ecstasy. Like a rose picked for its deep red hues, the deepness for what I felt from the video shriveled up and died. Instead of wading through the deep end of emotions, I was flouncing through the kiddie pool.

But I wanted to go back. I wanted to recreate that beautiful thing. I wanted to go back down that rabbit hole of melancholy happiness and feel what I felt the first time. Alas, it was impossible.

All beautiful things must come to an end. Time is not kind to beautiful things. They wither. They decay. They become stale. We must hold on a little tighter to the simple signs of beauty because too soon, they will be out of our reach.

Beauty is unexpected. It is something so rarely seen that we can’t help but desire it. There is beauty in a physical visage, but also in the essence of something. A moment of silence. A moment of complacency. A moment of wonderstruck awe.

But only a moment. Perhaps that is what makes them beautiful. The ephemeral aspect of them, of everything, makes regular things something to treasure. Would you still think the stars and the moon were beautiful if the sun didn’t banish them from the sky every day?

When it comes down to it, impermanence is a real thing. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how big of a fit mankind throws over it. The degradation is as inevitable. Time barrels on and Change chases greedily after it, leaving a wake of trampled beautiful things.

The only consistency is that things will never be consistent. Interlocking, grinding, unlocking, and shifting, the gears of our reality never slow and never stop. They clank abrasively against one another in a metallic fight for control over the unknown.

And in these gears, beautiful things get crushed. Are these beautiful things lost forever? Will new beautiful things take their place? Or will they reincarnate and become anew?

That video was a beautiful causality. Other videos have since moved me to tears, but it has never been quite the same. I didn’t realize what a beautiful thing it was until it was gone.

One day at a time. One step at a time. One breath at a time. Inhale. Exhale. Beautiful things are all around us. We overlook them until they dissolve into the intangibility of the past.  Too soon, its light clicks out and fades.