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Hope for the flowers

Updated on November 3, 2011

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

"Must Read"

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.


E-Mail message

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.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

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.

45 minutes:

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.

1 hour:

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?



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    • salt profile image

      salt 6 years ago from australia

      thanks, that was lovely. I wrote something on the different types of clouds and I have become quite a sky watcher of late.

      I love to see the effects of the sky on the water where I swim. I love to see rainbows form. There was one this morning and I always smile at rainbows.

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 7 years ago

      Wow. this was very nice.

      I am impressed.

      - Loved the pictures, too.

      Yes. I will follow you

      to the clouds.

    • erthfrend profile image

      erthfrend 7 years ago from Florida

      The clouds, everything in nature is so intriguing to me. I enjoyed reading this article as it reminded me of how I am. Yesterday evening, as sunset was approaching, I laid down in the grass and just watched the sky, the clouds, the colors quickly changing. I was in awe.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Great stuff, really! I enjoyed this and agree with you. I have also seen the Bell video before but it is so great.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

      BTW moral of the story - always have your real camera with you, you never know when you'll be gifted with something worthy of a photo! That's from one head-in-the-clouds-guy to another!

      Love and peace


    • sheryld30 profile image

      sheryld30 8 years ago from California

      Enjoyed this hub. Thank you soo much for sharing! :)

    • QuirkyPearl profile image

      QuirkyPearl 8 years ago from England - UK

      If it wasn't for Rain and Clouds we would never know the beauty of Rainbows :-)

    • Carson Creek profile image

      Carson Creek 8 years ago

      Thanks for the time to share one of the thousands of days we all let slip by. I've always told my son; "stop running through the rain for cover, you're missing the point of it". You have to enjoy some rain in your life. Many times it's better than the burning sun and has some amazing endings. If we walk through the rain we won't run from adversity in life.

    • trooper22 profile image

      trooper22 8 years ago from Chicago

      A great and poetic story with fantastic images. The story at the bottem does not surprise me a bit. I live in Chicago and see musicians plying their wares on the uncaring and neverstopping people both at the Airport and in the subway every day. Once in a while though, people do stop to listen. Especially between trains if a musician is talented.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      Pachuca- thanks for stopping in to sniff the hub, I mean.. read the hub. :D

    • profile image

      Pachuca213 8 years ago

      Your hub was always! And the photos were beautiful. It is sad that most people cannot stop and appreciate the sheer beauty of a sky or nature or something that is showing the beauty of creation. I loved your story.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      Muley- I hope you take the time to enjoy a few. :)

      Nanny JOAT- wondrous things clouds are.

      AID- you capture so much with your poetry. Your writing is truly on of the small things that make ones day go by with a smile.

      My Net has been down for quite a few days now. My wireless is still out, but if I chain myself to a desk, I can hub once more!

    • profile image

      Am I dead, yet? 8 years ago


      This leaves such a sadness in my heart. Thank you for the opportunity for reflection. It is nice to be reminded that the smallest things, often go unnoticed, eventually total up to a lifetime of time wasted. Bravo!

    • Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

      Nanny J.O.A.T. 8 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      I have always had a particular thing for clouds - glad to know I'm not the only one that can get caught up in the beauty of the moment on a regular basis. :)

    • muley84 profile image

      Michael A Muehleisen 8 years ago from Miami,FL

      Hi Paper Moon, we do get treated to some spectacular sunsets, especially if you are in the keys.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      Through the eyes of babes. Life is so magical to them.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 8 years ago from Canada

      I've got my head and eyes in the clouds all the time (and have my children up there with me). Even so, we still miss plenty around us. We can learn a lot from children, if only we could stop long enough to realize the wisdom that they hold in their hearts.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      The MindlessBrute- I am so glad nature is free. It is no wonder that the world is in trouble when people don’t even notice nature at it’s finest. Why would they care about trashing the environment?

      FP- The conditioning upon children is a heavy subject. Life is so beautiful if you only see it.

      Elena- How are those socks doing? Did you read this after your coffee?

      Jodi- Slow it down sister, enjoy life a little more. We could all use a little more of that.

      Muley- Being from Florida, you must get some nice sunsets. Thanks for stopping by.

      Just a reminder that people should check out

    • muley84 profile image

      Michael A Muehleisen 8 years ago from Miami,FL

      I see you are a profoundly deep person. Don't be too disappointed that the rest of us don't see the things you do. Thanks for telling us your experience.

    • Jodi Hoeksel profile image

      Jodi Hoeksel 8 years ago

      Beautiful hub, PM. Your story and pics are a delight as well as the email. Continuous reminders to slow down and keep our eye's open for the beauty around are very good. : )

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      Oh god! This whole hub gave me goose bumps! I could kiss you right now, PM! With Frieda's permission, of course! AHEM! Thank you thank you for a beautiful eye opener about stopping to smell the roses!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 8 years ago

      Our conditioning about how to react to things in a particular context may rob us of a wealth of fabulous experiences...

      Lovely pictures PM!

    • TheMindlessBrute profile image

      TheMindlessBrute 8 years ago from Orlando,Florida

      The social experiment below may be a testament to the economic quicksand and abstract prison set up by the money changers and propagated by the parents,dragging the innocent curiosity out of their children,marching to the dull drumbeat of the rat race,"gotta make that train,time to make the doughnuts".

      How many of those frantically hurried passerby's could afford $100.00 tickets to a concert let alone take the time off from work to be there.I wonder how many brokers from the Boston Options Exchange were in attendance,with seats paid for by some of those hard working people's retirement funds.Perhaps the treasure to be found in a depressed economy is the gift of nature that was always there and always will be,thanks for the reminder.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      TC- It just warms the soul, doesn't it? Oh how I have dreamed of clouds like that and a warm summer rain.

    • treading concrete profile image

      treading concrete 8 years ago from Jungle of steel.

      Gorgeous. I was just soaking in a breath taking sunset the other night. I just smiled letting the pinks and blues glow around me. Nature always wins in my soul. Thank you for such a great read.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      Violet Sun- I am hoping that as soon as the load of a new store slows down, and it starts running like a clock, that I will be able to take long lunches in the woods. Our new store is only about 5 minutes from nature trails along the Meramec River. I have got to have my nature to keep my roots grounded.

      William- as one who takes a look around and captures, even creates such beautiful moments as you do, I am surprised to hear that you to are guilty.

      I fully recommend that any one check out William Zuback’s work.

      Amazing. Photographs mixed with words…..Well you need to check it out for yourselves. I am positively floored by his work. You won’t be sorry. I cannot rave about it enough.

      Cris- Thank you for the comment. Your comments, much like your posts are always wonderful.

      Brenda- John Lennon is one of my heros. Sad to say I have become a working class hero, but try not to carry it home with me. Thank you for reading and sending love to the Fam. Back atcha’. :D

      Dink- I know, could you imagine? I remember going off the tourist area in New Orleans. Seems like there was a bar on every corner. I passed by one little dive and had to go back in and sit. I heard one of the most amazing voices coming from this hole in the wall joint. No billboard, no shining lights. Just a man pouring his sould through his voice. I did not find out till half way through the set who it was. I just knew it was amazing. Ends up it was Aaron Neville. I was seeing a world class act, in the raw for free. I was no less amazed when I thought it was a local nobody. I could be easily seduced by violin music. I will have to hunt down that video. The timing on the email was really cool.

      Ixxy- I really do no better, but seem not to heed my own professed knowledge. Having four little ones to feed, raise and protect still seems to override my beliefs on stress and life. I hope to break the circle soon. Your hubs and comments provide much sage advice. Thank you for that.

      Ethel- “WHAT is this life if, full of care,

      We have no time to stand and stare?—

      No time to stand beneath the boughs,

      And stare as long as sheep and cows:

      No time to see, when woods we pass,

      Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

      No time to see, in broad daylight,

      Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

      No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

      And watch her feet, how they can dance:

      No time to wait till her mouth can

      Enrich that smile her eyes began?

      A poor life this if, full of care,

      We have no time to stand and stare”

      I like the poem and love the story of this poet. W.H.Davies.

      Thank you.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      So very true. Remember that old poem "what is this world if full of care, we have not time to stand and stare etc etc."

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Stress and strife are two things you never need not have in your life, regardless of how much you work. ;)

      We are the One, my friend.

      Beautiful pictures, and lovely stories. Thank you.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Beautiful! I loved the pictures, but particularly the message. Sometimes we just have to slow down and stop to appreciate the absolute beauty of the natural world around us. I love the story about the violinist. I would have stopped and listened, as I'm a sucker for violinists. What a pity that people fail to see the everyday beauty around them. We used to have a sax player in downtown Phoenix that wasn't particularly good, couldn't swing that thing the way I wanted him to, but he was there almost every day, playing for the workers. I appreciated his efforts and although my job ended downtown, I wonder if he kept playing. Wonderful, wonderful hub!!!

    • profile image

      \Brenda Scully 8 years ago

      We are probably all missing most of the best things in life....... i LOVE John Lennon's words

      Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans....

      Thanks for not being too busy to write this hub... love to frieda and kids

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines


      I don't know where to start? On the ethereally beautiful photos? On your musings about the rain and the clouds or the email below? But it doesn't really matter where as each element on this hub seem to echo the same message. Thanks for the reminder...I'll go and water the plants and perhaps see a bud being coaxed by gentle sunlight :D

    • profile image

      William Zuback 8 years ago

      Another thought provoking Hub. Just reading it makes you put the brakes on life and look around and take in a deep cleansing breathe. Thanks for the reminder. I'm certainly one of the guilty ones always in a rush. THANKS!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Paper Moon: Nice photos! When I was a little girl I thought there were sheep in the sky (really), hehe, and would run after them. LOL! When I worked in corporate america, I would take time to go be near water, usually a water fountain or the beach on weekends, or be near nature, even if it was Central Park at lunch time in order to rebalance myself.

      The video of Joshua Bell I saw a few months ago- amazing how many people could not percieve the gift they had in their midst because they were too caught up with their concerns and rushing about.

      Thumbs up!

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      Got em’ in the computer so I could see them, had to exercise my demons on virtual paper, and you where the first to see.

      Would love to see the video.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I think Elena or someone hubbed about the guy in the subway you have at the bottom there a few months back. The video of it is amazing. Quite cool to see. I'll look for the hub so you can link to it.

      Nice photos. Would have loved to see them when you came home. C'est la vie.