It was early morning and the old Jeffersonian quad was quiet. I was walking, slightly hastily as usual, to my 9:00 Saturday morning class when a strange sound slowly started to pull on my ears. It was the sound of a violin softly singing into the air. I slowed and saw her, a young girl standing behind one of the many trees playing. As I walked past her, I slowed for a moment, but then carried on.
It was only when I could barely hear the sound anymore that I stopped to listen to it, really listen and register in my destination monkey-brain what was transpiring. Here I was, in my normal routine, and here she was to break it.
I turned around and started slowly walking back toward her, this time fully looking up at the scenario around me and here’s what I had missed: The soft sun of a quiet morning sifting down through 100-year-old giant trees blotting shimmying leaves against a lightened blue sky. The visceral reaction of a melody of strings moving through the ears, through the skin, and into the heart (strings are my favorite). The sounds of birds, many different kind of birds singing many different tunes across the branches. I had somehow missed this scene on my way through the first time. I had only seen the long sidewalk I had to cross to get to where I was destined to be and that I was on the other side of where I was going.
I stopped and watched her for a while. I was still aware that I needed to be somewhere. But for just a moment I was enraptured in this morning gift, this space presented to me to remember that the spaces I walk through on my way to where I’m going fully exist in their own right. That these spaces are always existing and perhaps I would connect more deeply into the world around me if only I opened my eyes and truly listened to it.
We so often are on track to our destination, that we forget to feel the breeze touching our ears or hear the conversations of birds over breakfast. I am a definite culprit of living somewhere ahead of myself or somewhere behind, both places that do not actually exist. This is not to say that that we should forget to put one foot in front of the other to get from here to there, but it is important to remember that the entire path is exactly that-a path, full of its own beautiful surprises and deviations. Sometimes when we stop and listen, we can remember a bit more of who and where we are in every moment.
I stayed listening until I needed to leave to make it to class exactly on time. But it changed my entire day, that small, still moment. A girl in a park playing violin for no one in particular and for everyone passing through who would stop and listen.
What still moments have you listened to lately?