On my last stroll through the French Quarter, I paid a lot of attention to the wrought-iron gates and fences that surround and divide many of these historic buildings. As lovely as these fixtures are, many of them are topped with truly terrifying spikes, the kind that have long been intended to deter unwanted visitors. Seeing such deadly adornments, even those that encircle Jackson Square, made me acknowledge my fascination with things that are beautiful in spite of, or because of, their potential for danger.
Elemental entities, such as air, water, fire, and earth, are the obvious examples of this dichotomy. All of the above can be incredibly remarkable – and incredibly destructive. A windswept palm tree might be a soothing sight, but a hurricane is no laughing matter, and though I love sitting on a beach and watching the waves crash ashore, that same magnificent ocean has destroyed many a sea-faring vessel. Likewise, flames and mountains are equally amazing – but wildfires and landslides are rarely auspicious.
In fact, many aspects of the natural world are simultaneously gorgeous and perilous. I’m particularly smitten by alluring plants – such as the cacti varietals of southern Texas. At certain times of year, they are in full bloom, with vibrant flowers that can easily tantalize the gullible and ensure a rude awakening for those unfamiliar with their baneful needles.
Well, what about you? What "dangerous beauties" fascinate and inspire you – despite their drawbacks? (And, no, I don’t mean the movie starring Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell – although that’s quite a flick indeed.)
1 hour ago