JR: Tell me about this view at the top of the hiking trail overlooking Lake Serene. Have you been there frequently? Can you describe the experience of the first time you saw this view?
GVS: The view overlooking Lake Serene is very breathtaking. The water is as smooth as glass, reflecting the landscape around it with great clarity. It’s at a high enough elevation that much of the perimeter is covered in snow, which contrasts radiantly against the deeper brown, grey, green, and blue shades surrounding it. In every direction, you can see jagged mountain peaks and lush evergreen forests. The first time I saw this view, I understood exactly why it was named Lake Serene. The water was perfectly still, making it appear calm and tranquil. The only background noise we could hear were sounds of nature and rustling leaves. We were up so high that the clouds floated by just above our heads, making it look like a dream world. The crisp air, cool blue water, and green trees invoked a sense of Serenity that is unique to the experience of nature in the Pacific Northwest. I have only been here once, but I plan to hike this trail again because of the awe-inspiring impression it left me with last time.
JR: Why do you think the calm, the tranquility, and the serenity of this scenery affect you as they do?
GVS: I think that the scenery affects me this way because it is very different from what I experience in my everyday life. It is rare that I’m ever this far away from civilization, so being here felt like a temporarily escape from the daily responsibilities of normal life. There were no obligations or distractions, so I was able to have a more relaxed mindset. This tranquil state of mind allowed me to appreciate the beauty and serenity of the location, as well as have a more impactful experience. Without any man made or artificial structures present (other than trails and a bridge), it was easy to clear my mind. it served as a reminder to stop and smell the roses once in a while.
Another reason why I think the calm, the tranquility, and the serenity of this scenery affected me this way is the connection I have to the outdoors. Ever since I can remember, nature has always been a way for me to invoke these feelings. I’ve spent a lot of time camping, hiking, running on outdoor trails, and enjoying nature. this scenery was full of all the beautiful things that I love including mountains, trees, sunshine, a lake, and my friends. All these things together created a powerful feeling of serenity and happiness.
JR: What role if any, is played (in your experiencing this view as beautiful) by the fact that you shared this experience with friends? Is beauty a shareable thing or even affected (enhanced, perhaps) when shared? Or do you think beauty is somehow more private and individual?
GVS: I think that beauty is easier to identify when you’re in a positive mood. Sharing this experience with friends brought me a lot of happiness, which manifested itself in how I saw beauty in the scenery. Beauty is certainly a shareable thing, but no two experiences of it will be exactly the same. Sharing the beautiful view with my friends enhanced the experience because my appreciation of the beauty was reaffirmed by their similar reactions. Since the beauty was evident to them too, it inspired me continue pondering the idea. Beauty can be equally impactful in private too. If I had been alone, I likely would have been more reflective about the beauty and how I personally felt about it without any outside influences.
JR: How important is it for you to have beauty present in your life? In what ways is it important or, what, if anything, does it contribute to your life?
GVS: It is very important for me to have beauty present in my life because it motivates me to work harder and maintain structure. Since I’m drawn to and strive for beauty in my life, I’ve found ways to use this to my advantage. for example, I am motivated to stay neat and organized by the thought of having a beautiful room and space to live in. In school, the prospect of creating visually appealing notes makes me more inclined to take them, as well as more engaged in the process of learning the information. The desire to have a beautiful home, live in a beautiful place, and own beautiful things motivates me to continue working hard towards my career goals and future success. The desire to appear beautiful serves as a motivating factor to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay in shape. overall, beauty is interwoven into many aspects of my life and can be very rewarding.
Another reason for beauty’s importance in my life is the positive light it spreads over what it touches. For example, it is hard to feel negative when I’m in a beautiful place. Beauty has a unique ability to influence my emotions and help me see things from a new angle. My favorite thing about beauty is the power it has to connect people together spread understanding. There is so much conflict and disagreement in the world, yet beauty is universally revered and sought after. when something is framed in a beautiful way, we are much more receptive and likely to give it attention and consideration. I think that the world would be a better place if we used beauty more often to help communicate important ideas and express viewpoints.