Beauty in a time of Pandemic

Holding Ave


to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. – Isaiah 61:3

The grandkids Tuesday afternoon in Miami

Our 24-7 saturation with obsessive media coverage makes it all too easy to be so completely focused on one thing that we forget to experience – and to celebrate – the day-to-day of actual life. But the fact remains, life is beautiful and the evidence is everywhere if we just open our eyes.

This was brought home to me Tuesday afternoon when my writing brain became clogged, so I went out for a short 20-minute walk. I looped through the park where some young people were shooting baskets and another group were fielding fly-balls on the diamond. Over in the playground the swings were active, and as I exchanged greetings with a young family on their way in I noticed their two-year old was helping to push the stroller while a fuzzy-haired mid-sized dog was happily riding in the seat.

an adjacent street

Too late I realized I should always have my Nikon with me when I head out on a beautiful Spring day.

So I grabbed a few photographs with my phone – as if it’s possible to adequately capture the feeling of 61-degrees in gentle sunshine, where the fresh air is saturated with a sense of regeneration and new life.

It was the kind of day where even the most practiced cynic would be hard put to sneer, or complain, or to even consider framing a caustic thought.

I believe sometimes the best intervention during a crisis is to remember to live, moment by moment, in the beautiful truth that is the gift of life, love, hope, promise, light, mercy, and grace. Look at the image of our grandchildren yesterday in Miami if you have any doubts.

author Derek Maul lives, writes, and walks his neighborhood in Wake Forest

These neighborhood photographs are not that exceptional, but they do help convey the spirit of grateful praise that I hope flows from my heart and onto this page.

Beauty, even in a time of Pandemic. Peace, when the world offers so much struggle. Love, ascendant in an age of fear. Light – even a pinprick – always defeating the efforts of darkness.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:1-3



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