freckles2.jpg We all have those mornings when we look in the mirror and cringe ever-so-slightly. Eh. It's part of growing up. The pre-teen years are the worst.

"Oh my Gawd! Would you look at that ZIT!" we used to scream as we clamored up onto the bathroom counter, pressing our faces up against the mirror, zeroing in on the protruding red culprit. When, in reality, the pimple was barely noticeable... and besides, no one was actually looking at us.

(The above picture was taken by Jon when we were in London... and, while it does show my freckles, I'm actually putting it here for him to see when he reads my blog tonight. Awwwwww.)

For me, blessed with an acne-free complexion (hate me later), the daily struggle was with my nose. Why? How sweet of you to pretend not to notice. Alas, my nose is crooked. It always has been. For years I agonized over it. All in spite of the support I received from my family. Well, part of my family. Mom, as usual, told me I was gorgeous. On the other hand I have a very distinct memory of my dad, who loves loves loves to tease me, coming up behind me as I stared woefully at my face.

"What's wrong?" he asked me. By the way, I was twelve at the time.

"Oh, Dad, m-m-my nose is crooked!" I stammered, almost in tears.

He thought for a second, studying me, and then said incredulously, "It really is , isn't it? Wow!" And then I was crying. Oh, Daddy, I still love you.

Anyway, before the nose crisis was the one-eye-is-bigger-than-the-other fiasco. Now I don't even bother noticing those things. It's not worth my time. But there remains to be one feature I can't ignore: my freckles. Sometimes they make me spritely, nymphish. Other times they stand out Dalmation-style. Today was a "bad freckle day".

How did I pull myself out of the bad freckle doldrums? Unlike a bad hair day, bad freckles cannot be solved with a straightening iron and lots of hairspray. Well, the answer came to me in my English Literature class in the form of Gerard Hopkins' poem "Pied Beauty":

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.

freckles.jpg For the poetically-challenged I will sum up: God made everything, including the freckled things. That means me. And because He made the freckles, they're beautiful. Thank God. That was a happy way to start the day. I wish that kind of start to everyone I know and love. For now, as I am currently watching "Cool Runnings" in the background... peace be the journey !