We (my brother Ben and I) spent a few minutes talking about beauty.
"Nothing that's man-made can ever be beautiful for me," I said seriously.
"Really? But what about ... say ... a Stradivarius violin?" His voice was light, as though he was sure he was right.
"That would be many things ... but not beautiful. It would be precious. It would be ... lovely. But it wouldn't be beautiful."
"Well, for me, the most beautiful things are a mixture of man-made and natural." He went on to give a few examples. I looked around at the countryside.
"No. For me, the beauty is in that light as it shines through the grass and makes them golden. For me, the stormclouds over there, outlined by the sunset, are beautiful. Often, when it's about to rain, it's the most beautiful. When you can't go outside because of thunder and lightning, it's the most beautiful. When the whole world is shaking from the force of nature, it's the most beautiful. But for me, the beauty in this world is in the sunlight, in the stars, and in the trees. For example, when I'm standing under a tree and all the copper leaves are falling down. Or in Spring, when blosson floats to the ground around you."
"That's all very well," my brother told me. "And I appreciate what you're saying: those things are beautiful. But for me, there will always be some beauty in cities."
"I could never be at home in a city," I said firmly, and that was that.