What Beauty Is to Me, Then and Now

In Alaska (not about writing but beautiful)!

It was in 4th or 5th grade that our teacher asked us to write a piece on beauty. That struck me as odd because, outside of one other creative writing assignment (in which I described in words and pictures my perfect day) I can't remember being asked to just write. This freedom to put down whatever I wanted was both exciting—

No. Strike that. It was pretty terrifying in the beginning. But I do remember that once I came up with the idea of seasons, it flowed like the rush of a swollen stream. Take a look. (If you don't want to read my early cursive, it's typed below, mistakes and all.)

 Beauty is snow sparkling in winter,
            The snowdrifts that form a blanket,
            Snowmen with eyes made of dark gray coal.
            That’s what beauty is to me.

 Beauty is the little woodland creatures born in the spring.
            The birds popping out of branches
            Beauty is pusswillows gray in the sunlight
            That’s what beauty is to me.

 Beauty is the green, fresh feeling in summer
            With the friendly old sun shining down on you
            Beauty is little children having fun
            That’s what beauty is to me.

 Beauty is crunching in the red, yellow, and orange leaves in autumn
            The smell of pine needles
            Beauty is the bonfires crackling.
            That’s what beauty is to me.

Like I said, the poem flowed like the rush of a swollen stream. Until…

Until I came to the summertime stanza. I was okay with the first two lines, but the third? Little children having fun? I became self-conscious. I sounded too adult. I was 10, still a child, right? Right. So I sat there, trying to think of a replacement line before I finally gave up, knowing that my favorite times included the freedom to run and play.  

Fast forward to a few days ago. I was at the Franklin County (KS) Book Festival with about 700 3rd-5th graders. As I stood there answering questions in one of the sessions, specifically, how we authors get critiques on our writing just like they do in Writers Workshops, it stuck me how fortunate these kiddos are with their opportunities to express themselves.

And in that moment, I realized that's also what beauty is to me.

Jody Feldman is planning to spend the rest of today watching the birds pop out of the branches in the sunlight. She'll get back to her writing on Monday.


  1. Wll Said, Jody. Beauty's definition is ever changing.

  2. THIS is beautiful. That's quite a poem you wrote back then!

  3. Such an inspiring poem! Lovely!

  4. Thanks! Ten-year-old me may just have foreshadowed a thing or two :)

  5. So advanced for your age. You had beautiful handwriting too. Anything incorrect? You were being creative.


Post a Comment