At the Symphony

It’s the first full day of spring, and snow has fallen, often heavily, for much of the day. The ground is warm, thanks to several days of temperatures in the fifties and sixties, and sun, so little snow has stuck.

Last night we went to the symphony. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO), a “gem” of a regional symphony,  is celebrating its 75th year. The symphony is adventurous, regularly commissioning and presenting new music.  Last night’s  program included Danielpour’s “A Child’s Reliquary”, as well as old favorites such as Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring”. Sarah Hicks conducted. The evening was a treat!

We were seated close to the stage, and could watch the communication between conductor and players, and between the players within each section. As I watched, I began to think about the mystery unfolding before us. How could it be that we animals were communicating such complex and intricately nuanced information? How could one animal, a composer, put marks to paper, and in the process create something of such great emotional power and aural beauty? Beyond that, what brings 50 animals  together to play those notes, and to share the experience with almost 1500 others?

The world is filled with mysteries and wonders, here for us to discover and recognize. They are not limited to human thought and behavior, but spread themselves throughout Nature. My teachers have often said they seek to awaken the healer within the patient, to open a portal to wholeness and awe, for moments of wonder and mystery can lead us to healing.

The arts, at their best, evoke this wonder. Such experiences are potent, often transporting us to new awareness and, even, transformation. The arts are powerful medicine. Perhaps that is what frightens those who would have power over others, or if they exercise such power, would keep it. A society without a vibrant engagement with the arts is poverty-stricken. Yet, there are many in our country who would abolish arts in the schools, end funding to public arts treasures such as the VSO, and fill our days with work that produces nothing profound or beautiful.

We humans are animals with an enormous capacity for creativity and passion.  Hopefully, we are each encouraged to live lives filled with creativity, awe, and magic. Last night at the Symphony a window opened, and some of us flew through, into a sense of profound joy. That, too, was miraculous.

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