I wish I'd linked to this article when it was published 8 days ago. A perverse thing about blogging is that you feel that if something is even a day old, it's too late. And you feel that if something is today, you must talk about it today. Why does blogging feel like a commitment to tie one's thoughts to a chronology set by the news and the news media?
So let's go back to this story of the brilliant musician Joshua Bell who takes his violin into the subway station and plays for the passing crowd as if he were just another street musician:
In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.If this happens, what else must happen? We must all scurry by everything, constantly. If we can't notice this, what hope do we have of noticing all the subtle beauty that flows around us all the time.
Bell -- stimulated by knowing he was doing something unusual -- experienced heightened awareness:
"At a music hall, I'll get upset if someone coughs or if someone's cellphone goes off. But here, my expectations quickly diminished. I started to appreciate any acknowledgment, even a slight glance up. I was oddly grateful when someone threw in a dollar instead of change." This is from a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute.He found delight in observing himself in a life that wasn't his.
For the others, they believed they were walking through their ordinary lives and -- with a few fine exceptions, described in the article -- perceived nothing special. Yet even on the ordinary day, there is beauty, if we would only perceive it.