Back in January of 2007, I was living in Washington, DC.
At a subway stop near to my home, a violinist played four Bach pieces for 45 minutes. Some 2,000 commuters hustled and bustled by the artist – few paid any attention to the performance, and even fewer stopped (except for a handful of children who were all quickly reprimanded by their guardians).
Of the 2,000 people, 20 gave money and then hurried off. 6 paused.
The whole situation was a social experiment orchestrated by the Washington Post. The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most gifted musicians in America. Two days earlier, he had sold out an entire theater in Boston. His instrument was worth some $3.5 million. The pieces he played were some of the most intricate ever written.
And only 6 people paused.
If we can overlook such obvious and rare beauty, can you imagine the more subtle things we’re missing? Even when beauty slaps us in our face, we tend not to recognize it. There are no excuses.
We need not wait for a talented musician in disguise. Beauty is here and beauty is now.
Take a second to look around you. Look at the shadows that crawl across your room or office. Look at the folds of your sheets. Look at the raindrops dancing across your window. The gentle creases in your hands. The dust on your bureau. The socks on your feet. The air in your lungs. This is beautiful.
Can you see it?