Beauty Over Ugly

It was so-o easy to talk politics in 2008 or even in 2012.

Back when two parties disagreed on issues but discussed them. Back when citizens expressed their opinions with belief but not defiance. Oh we complained that politicians would always be politicians. We lamented that the work was never done, that they didn’t get it and didn’t have our back in Washington.

But in comparison to what we’ve witnessed for the last months? Yeah, I agree with you.

It became very ugly.

In my native France arguing is a national hobby. One that I kind of missed when I moved to the US. When I was a kid I often heard my father insist that it was wise to avoid a few topics if you didn’t want to ruin a good meal (money, cars and politics). The French rarely talk openly about money, so that one was easy. On the other hand, conversations about cars could get heated between my father and my uncles since they each championed a specific brand. By the way all of them bought French cars. So the fight was between Renault, Citroen and Peugeot. As for politics, I don’t know why they argued. Even the most conservative candidate, favored by a couple of my uncles, would have been a socialist for the Americans. Also, despite my father’s opinion, he still discussed the three upsetting topics. The reason is simple: as argumentative as the discussions could be they always ended with a game of pétanque or cards and lots of laughter.

How I wish to return to these days where people could talk about politics, disagree and then laugh.

The good news is that in less than a month this ugly American presidential campaign will be behind us.


Meanwhile I leave you with these pics that my husband took for me as we explored the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Maybe they will help you remember the beautiful over the ugly.

In front of natural beauty I sometimes forget its brutal strength that no human can tame. It is hard to accept that beauty can hurt the most vulnerable citizens of our world and neighbors in our own country.

This series is for the people who witnessed the violence of Hurricane Matthew and are still living with the aftermath, in the southeastern USA (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina) and of course particularly in devastated Haiti.














P.S. In a few days I will show you why I couldn’t take any picture myself.


  1. Beautiful photos. I’m worried about that reason you’re going to reveal, I hope you’re OK.

    As for the ugly politics we’re being forced to endure…just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

    • Thank you, Dan. These gardens are gorgeous. It took years of work to get there and it keeps improving. The setting of course is in itself really gorgeous. Much better than our political landscape, for sure.
      As sson as I clicked Publish I realized that my P.S. was perhaps misleading. I’m totally fine. More soon…

  2. What’s going on in the US with the politics debates is crazy, and your choice between bad and even badder isn’t easy I admit. I’m afraid that What will happen in France for the elections of our new president in the next few months won’t be better . I hope all is fine for you ,take care.

    • Thank you for making feel better, although I know that the situation in France is far from being great. Although our two countries are very different this upcoming American election can guide yours, one way or another. It’s never easy but it has become ugly and low. As for my cryptic P.S., thank you for asking: I’m totally fine. You’ll see why I wrote this very soon. Take care.

  3. Oh no, I hope you’re ok. The pix are beautiful!

    • Thank you, Luanne. A camera is better than an iPhone, right? I’m fine but since you are the third one who’s asking, I might post my follow-up sooner. No need to worry. See you around. Hope all is well for you.

  4. Behind the Story says:

    My dad and I seldom argued about anything. But when I was a teenager, we had an ongoing argument/discussion about heredity vs. environment in terms of the effects each had on people. We were serious but never angry. Our discussions made us think.

    I realize many people don’t want to talk about the election, but there’s much to be learned here also–maybe in a more peaceful moment than this. Just a few topics we might include: the effects of social media, tribalism, fear, celebrity, propaganda from cable news and talk radio, the quality of our education system with regard to clear thinking and civic knowledge. I could go on and on. I enjoy reading articles about politics. And, although I can feel angry or disappointed about what I read, I don’t think it affects my enjoyment of life.

    Beautiful photos. My favorite is #3. I love ponds.

    • I SO agree with you on the importance to discuss politics, Nicki. It would be a mistake to think we can live without feeling the implication. Unfortunately this specific campaign is lacking political content. But, like you suggest, it can still offer opportunities to discuss why and analyze the effect of social media.
      I also agree that, unless we let the ugliness of this campaign into our lives, we can still read about it and make a proper decision early November.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. The work around ponds is really lovely there. There is so much water in Maine despite a very unusual dry summer.
      I’m sure that your fall up in the Northwest is gorgeous too.

  5. Let us hope that the election ends this ugliness without opening a new can of worms. It’s exhausting, no matter what side you are on.

  6. Lovely photos, I enjoy the distractions of the finer, more important things in life ❤

    Here the general rule is not to discuss sex, politics, or money — in polite company.

  7. I learned ever so long ago, as a political science major at Berkeley, that politics is the art of compromise. Oh for those days again, when people cared more about getting things done instead of drowning in negativism and extremism. –Curt

    • The University of California system in general, and the Berkeley campus in particular, reinforces the idea that having different opinions is wonderful as long as we can share them with respect of the others and get the job done. That’s what has been completely lacking during this campaign. I suspect that most Americans, from one side or the other, agree that it is not something we should live through again. Thank you, Curt, for stopping by and for your wise words.

      • The American political system has been broken for a while, Evelyne. Hopefully this experience will help our political leaders focus on the needs of the country and the world instead of narrow ideologies. Or, if not that, at least produce a majority of Democrats and Republicans who are willing to do so. –Curt

  8. This is a disturbing time in American politics. I so enjoyed being away for a week without any ugly news. I’m with you – I am looking forward to the end of this election.

    • Most people want action more than empty and angry words. I still follow the election but I must say that I miss the enthusiasm of 2008 and even 2012. And even my very experience in the mid 90s. I hope you’ve enjoyed your week away, Claire.

  9. Politics does seem to have taken an ugly turn this year – in the US campaign but also in our Brexit discussions when there were some very ugly arguments used. But you’ve calmed us with some beautiful images Evelyne.

    • You’re right, Andrea, Europe is also seeing its share of ugliness and I expect a certain amount in France with the spring upcoming presidential election. Nature has a way to soothe our feelings in general. When anger, frustration and other negative emotions get too high, I find its power even more important. Hope all is well for you, Andrea.

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