If you’re going to contemplate beauty in wine, you might as well do it in an art gallery. Well, that was my reasoning when I accepted the invitation, even if it was under the ruse of an all-women fundraiser for a cosy 200 guests on a bright spring afternoon. Where better to contemplate beauty – the enigma that Oscar Wilde called ‘a form of genius’, Plato claimed to ‘permeate our souls’ and Albert Camus said ‘drives us to despair’ – than in a place with walls adorned by artists whose very calling was to express the concept for its own sake?
Like all mass gatherings of a single species, it was a spectacular site to behold. We were a flock of pastels and neutrals in soft breezy fabrics. Excited chatter morphed into white noise and sent birds flying from trees. A gale of perfumes fought for airspace with the natural aromas of spring. Were I a pink flamingo, or some such other species that socialised in colossal flocks, I might have felt more comfortable to be among that many women all at once, so I was grateful for the glass of sparkling wine — and then for the second — I sipped on the terrace with friends before we migrated inside for lunch.
It has long been said there is beauty in the detail and this was true when you zoomed in on our crowd. I met many women on the slow and chatty journey to our tables and noted how the beautiful souls had a way of standing out from the crowd. They exuded a halo of generosity, cut to the heart of real matters, met your hand with a gentle squeeze, saw you rather than looked at you, and laughed with you deeply. It was equal parts heart and soul. Whoever said beauty was only skin deep kept shallow company.
Others were cooler. “Who?” said one woman …
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