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A Pearl in the Fog
A friend of mine sent me a video (below) today with the subject line saying: “so what do we miss when we rush through life.” The video was of the famous (and amazing) musician Joshua Bell, playing the violin in a metro station in Washington, D.C. and barely anyone notice or cared.
The article, Pearls Before Breakfast, in The Washington Post describes the “ruse” and result, asking, “In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”
In the metro that I get off at for work, there often is a musician playing near the exit I use. I always love when there are violinists. They fill that part of the metro with beautiful sound, which sometimes offers a brief respite from the ugly, sad scene of the many homeless people who sleep and beg there.
I definitely notice how most people on the metro and bus travel in a fog of their own making and sometimes I am one of them. I would hope, however, that I wouldn’t be so deaf and numb as to not be touched by the music those commuters had the chance to experience in that D.C. metro.
I think it helps to have someone (or some creature) in your life that notices everything and couldn’t get lost in a fog even if he or she tried. I’m thinking of my puppy Maximus of course.
I don’t know if I have ever seen with such clear eyes how the newly fallen snow can glitter on a nightly walk or enjoyed so much jumping around in the white stuff up to my knees, chasing a 70-pound ball of black fur.
The fog of growing up, of responsibilities, seems to cloud the simple joys and I think everyone needs someone to ground them in the basics. I’ve grown very much acquainted with the floor of my apartment and the perspective of things from down there as I wrestle with my clumsy, happy puppy. Without a dog, or kids, when would you ever fully get out of your head and into your body and environment?
In Pearls Before Breakfast, the only demographic that consistently took notice and tried to stay and listen to the beautiful violin playing were the children, who were being dragged along by their parents. The worst of them, to me, were the people in line to get lottery tickets, not one of whom even flicked an eye towards the violinist who’s playing "does nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live."
I wish there were more pearls like this one in the rough of everyday life, commutes and banality, and I hope that I will always be present enough to appreciate them.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
- W.H. Davies