On Easter an international virtual choir and orchestra of 600 members performed, “The Strife is O’er, the Battle Won”:
As I watched the little thumbnail images of their faces singing and playing in isolation but brought into harmony with each other via someone’s digital prowess, joy streamed down my cheeks warm and wet.
It was a palpable sense of their sheer eagerness to imagine the music they made reaching out on a finger of sound across the globe and pairing with others they did not know and would never meet. It conjured a kind of sweet confidence in the human spirit. Saxophone, flute, trumpet, violin and viola, clarinet, organ and piano, each individual musician declared value and meaning with the magic of their instrument, and to an audience of none. Only later, when they had sent the recording to some Oz behind the digital curtain who would produce the enchanting synthesis, would they know if their part was included and who else was in the choir and orchestra. The same for the choristers singing to themselves in a bedroom or kitchen, serenading a microphone while believing their voice was not solitary. The final result is a beguiling charm of hopefulness.
I have felt the same thing watching the women who park six feet from one another at the lakefront some mornings. One is in her driver’s seat while the other has sidled into her passenger side to talk across the distance through open windows. How sweet that friendship must be, how totally enthralling to witness the resilience of love.
In countless gestures the depth and verve of the human heart pokes through the pall of pandemic like crocuses piercing the near frozen soil of early spring. To see it, especially to be in close proximity to it, is rejuvenating.
Why is it then, so much easier to focus on the landfill of human failures? Dog owners who don’t clean up after their pet, litterers, coughing-wheezing-maskless shoppers, toilet paper hoarders to name a few. Leaning toward the grim when surrounded by light is in the same category as feeling great after vigorous exercise yet dragging my feet to do it. Why is the elixir of restoration and healing resisted even though we gulp with glee that which drags us down? Strange, don’t you think?
We have a potential gift in this time of pandemic, which is time with less stimulus and distraction to practice seeing and hearing. If you are someone who sees the big picture and often misses the details, it is an opportunity to pay more attention to the small, granular elements around you. For example, I have lived in my new house for almost two months and just recently noticed a river birch, one of my favorite trees, a hundred yards away and visible through my window. If you are a detailed person, this offers you a time to raise your vision for a more expansive view. Are there relationships and connections going on around you that you never noticed before?
There is a feast of beauty, sacredness, sweet poignancy, and amazing resilience waiting to be received. Surely you have a little time these days for such a practice?