Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Do you have time for beauty?"

I found the link to this story from Miss Snark's blog. Joshua Bell, one of the virtuoso violin players of our time, agreed to play some of the most difficult pieces in his repertoire on his Stradivarius violin at morning rush hour in the DC metro.

What is heartbreaking is how few people stopped for the beauty that is his playing.

Are we so busy in our lives that we don't have time for beauty?

When I lived in New York City, even as a poor graduate student, I would stop to listen to the street musicians and toss some money into their cases when I could.

There is something transformative about a moment when beauty touches you. It lifts you out of the mindless and mind numbing routine and reminds you of something larger than yourself. It is the moment when, after a week of low gray skies and spitting rain, the sun shines its glory.

It can be the way early light touches a newly hatched leaf. The unmitigated joy of a dog and a tennis ball. The sound of a violin's voice filling the vault of a train station with its longing.

Beauty is everywhere, but only if we are open to it. We have to let it in.

We have to let it in.

Those poor souls who walked past without even a glance at this lone musician--did their hearts cry out for their lost opportunity?

Gene Weingarten, the Washington Post writer of this article asks the question I have used as this post title. "Do you have time for beauty?"

I think the real question is how can we survive without it?


  1. There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
    She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

  2. Thanks, anonymous--she raises an interesting point about a brilliant musician not being the same as a talented 'busker'.