Every month, someone who loves the village of Washago puts out a free publication called “The Soulvine”. In it, this individual tells of the goings on in our little neck of the woods and accepts submissions from anyone who calls Washago home. You can find everything from poetry to recipes to funny stories to sermons to advice in “The Soulvine”. DA and I look forward to finding it in our mailbox. I picture the principle writer as a middle aged man who got C’s in grammar. The monthly publication is quite poorly written with its run on sentences and dangling participles but somehow that makes it all the more entertaining to read.
This month a story was recounted in “The Soulvine” that I really liked. It tells of a musician who set up in Washington Metro Station in January of 2009. The fellow played six Bach pieces on his violin for about an hour while roughly 2000 people rushed by to go to work. A few souls paused for a couple of minutes to listen and about twenty threw coins into his violin case. Most people were in a hurry and no one noticed or applauded when he finished and packed up his things.
What no one knew was that this wasn’t just any musician. This was Joshua Bell, a very famous violinist, who normally played to sold out theatres where seats went for a hundred dollars or more. That day he played some of the most intricate music ever written on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. His incognito performance at the station was part of a social experiment organized by the Washington Post. The questions being studied were: 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?
It seems the majority of the people missed the beauty of that music. It was there but they didn’t hear it. It makes you wonder how many other beautiful things we miss as we hurry through our days.
My days are filled with the most ordinary things imaginable and yet I’m convinced that in every day there is something beautiful. Today I saw it while delivering newspapers. A man came out of his home carrying a bucket of corn. About a hundred mallard ducks came waddling out to meet him in expectation of a meal. I don’t normally see ducks in February and it was strangely beautiful to see this caring man scattering feed to his expectant duck friends. They went wild, quacking and walking clumsily through the snow, to get to that corn. I couldn’t help but smile.
Was it an award winning violinist playing for free on an expensive instrument? No. Was it beauty? I think so.