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Hope for the flowers
I had just worked thirteen and a half hours. A most mentally taxing day after an emotionally taxing day following (72-80 hour work ) weeks of unbearable stress and physical dashing about that left younger men on steroids (really) in the dust hours before I stopped. My mind racing, caught up as if in a rat race on crack. My body and metabolism also on hyper drive.
I left work and a warm summer rain fell on me. The clouds in the sky reminding me of summers of my youth. All I could think of was dancing naked in a meadow, amongst the wildflowers surrounded by trees. I primal rhythm coursed through my ancient center, calling to me. The world stopped. It was like doing a hundred and fifty on a bike and hitting an immovable wall. ZaZen. The beat inside me was the ancient beat of life. So pure.
I know what I wanted to do, but my mind numbed from living in extreme and unnatural surreal conditions, kicked into auto pilot. I backed my car up and started to head for home.
On my way, the rain cleared for the most part and I was treated to one of the most glorious displays that mother nature can give, A 360 degree sunset. No matter which way I looked, I was treated to shades both soft and vivid, colors from muted to intense. Clouds of every structure from towering, to soft, layer upon layer of contrasts. I have always been a cloud watcher. My head in the clouds.
I noticed in my peripheral consciousness that people where hurrying on their way. Why was no one looking up. Why wasn’t anyone else emanating this vibe? I always feel the need to get home quickly. To my home, my palace with walls that keeps the chaos of the world at bay. The need to see my children and to know everything is ok.
But this time I could not. I had to pull over and watch the gift Gaia had given so freely. It was my fortune that the first exit took me higher on a hill overlooking the vast Meramec valley. I pulled into the back of a parking lot that gave an unobstructed view. I was in awe. I wondered why the parking lot was not full of onlookers. What had gone wrong with the world? A world in which no one would stop to sniff the flowers anymore? I couldn’t help but wonder if someone else entertained the same thoughts on their way home.
Irony: the perceived notion of an incongruity between an understanding or expectation of a reality and what actually happens: the literal truth is in direct discordance to the perceived truth.
Timing and Irony
I took some pictures (my camera phone could not capture the beauty) and pondered about this on my way home. I though I must write about it, if only to myself.
I transfered my pictures to my computer and wrote what I had to say. Having gotten that out of the way, I settled in and checked my email. I got a message from a beautiful friend, marked
It seemed to fit my thought for the day. Too many people are scurrying about, missing out on truth and beauty.
But not every one. The friend who sent me this seems to always see the most amazing things in every little detail of life. She is an inspiration. One of the beautiful people.
I will share that email with you. Posted at the bottom.
Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?