Suzanne Reisler Litwin: What is real beauty?

Apricots! Oh, how I love apricots!!! My love for apricots developed around 35 years ago. I was around 20 years old. That summer, I went to Israel to work and tour the country. The group trip was called, “Experience Israel”. During the first part of the trip we lived and worked on a Kibbutz in the Negev Dessert. During the second part of the trip we toured Israel.

I worked on a Kibbutz for about a month. We woke up every morning at 4 a.m. A tractor would pick us up and bring us into the fruit orchards by 4:30 a.m. Each week I worked in a different part of the orchard. One week I picked peaches, the next week nectarines, then bananas and finally apricots, my favourite.

The air was cool at 4:30 a.m. We were told to pick the fruits which looked colour filled and unripe. We were told to only eat the fruits which were ripe, but not to eat too many. If we ate too many, our best friend would be the toilet!

Around 5:00-5:30 a.m., the sun began to rise. By 6:30 a.m. we were already hot. So were the fruits. My goal was to climb to the top of the apricot tree and pick the fruits which were hot on the sunny side and cool on the shaded side. I succeeded each morning. I climbed to the top of the apricot tree and picked the fruit which was both hot and cool and I ate it for breakfast. On some days, I ate too many. On occasion, my best friend was the toilet! I didn’t care. I fell in love with the best tasting apricots I have ever eaten. They were a sandwich of hot and cool sweet velvety fruits.

This experience sealed my love for fresh apricots, which are sparingly available during the spring and summer months. Last week I found fresh apricots in my local grocery store. I bought 8 and ate 2 right away. I learned my lesson! They tasted amazingly delicious. Not combined with hot and cool temperatures, but delicious due to missing the taste for 8 cold months.

I have a friend who also loves apricots. I brought 2 to Heidi. She thanked me and said, “They are beautiful.” I agreed, they are beautiful. The apricots I gave her were perfectly coloured. Sort of reddish on one side and orange colour on the other side. From my apricot picking experience, the reddish side faced the sun and the orange side faced the shade. The skin of the fruit was velvety which makes eating it a joy. A beautiful fruit in fact!

This led me to think about what is real beauty? Perhaps real beauty is simply the appreciation for something special. Whether it is a beautiful fruit, a car, flowers, or a person, its beauty. Is beauty found in the “appreciation” for anything? I wonder?

Within the same week, I went to visit a friend who is an expert in beautification. Bessy Parthimos works for Estee Lauder. She sells beauty products. I went to buy some for a few family members. I asked her, “What is real beauty?” Considering she is in the business of promoting beauty, I thought her perspective would be interesting. Her answer was this, “My view is there’s beauty in every person. My job is to bring out their beauty, so they see it.” I knew she would provide me with an interesting perspective.

Beauty is always within us. Bessy is the facilitator for the appreciation of beauty.

There is beauty everywhere and all around us. Especially within the spring, the colours of the flowers are popping up everywhere. Also, beautiful specialized cars are now out of storage and rolling along the once icy covered streets. Beauty is being restored and rebirthed.

Although, I must admit I find a lot of beauty within the winter months. The hues of blues and the delicate nighttime twinkles of snowflakes sustain me.

I guess in real beauty, you need to look beyond the commercialization and truly see it within yourself, or appreciate it in anything … even simply within the fruit you eat!

—Suzanne Reisler Litwin

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