… will find beauty everywhere.
Sometimes in the palms of two little hands.
At others, in grubby feet.
Maybe in painted arms and knees.
And definitely in a little boy patiently painting within the lines and then graciously and gallantly allowing his baby sister to go over it with a wild brush and mess it up.
Edited to add: Minutes after I pressed publish, I got this forward from a friend. It was so close to my post that it freaked me out and I decided to add it here.
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. two 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.
In Sunday’s Washington Post, Gene Weingarten asks an interesting question: what would happen “if one of the world’s great violinists had performed incognito before a traveling rush-hour audience of 1,000-odd people?” As it happens, Weingarten and the Post arranged to perform this experiment with the aid of virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, playing his $3.5 Million Stradivarius.
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 don’t 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 beautiful things are we missing by not taking time to “smell the roses?”