Live: Appreciating Uniqueness

by Kelley Taylor, Make Every Day A Holiday

I read non-fiction.  Period.  The last fiction book I picked up was “The Notebook” which I consumed in an afternoon along with two boxes of tissues.  I swore I’d never do that again to myself.

I know there’s something to that…like a flaw of some sort that makes me unable to get into fiction. I just don’t know what it is. (If you are reading this and can enlighten me, please do.) 

But every once in a while, a piece of fiction will pique my curiosity.  When it does, I pay attention. 

I attended a lecture last April at my library on perfectionism (just when you thought this post couldn’t get any more boring!  HA!).  A professor from Yale was touching on points of perfectionism that was written into a book called “The Soloist,” a very cool fiction (yes, I said fiction) book by Mark Salzman about a gifted cellist who felt he lost his gift at only eighteen.

There’s this one part that is stunning….had to share.  Let me see if I can summarize a bit…

The main character recalls one particular cello lesson when he was a young boy living in Germany.  His instructor, Herr Professor von Kempen, interrupted the lesson abruptly to show the boy a new hybrid rose he was cultivating in his garden.  When the boy seemed to lack interest the professor made him stick his eye “right up to the flower so that [his] whole field of vision was consumed by the brilliant orange-red petals.”

The rest goes like this (p. 46):

“…look at all that color! And the pollen dust, which attracts a certain kind of bee that carries it to the other flowers and fertilizes them.  Imagine the complexity of it, the perfection of the design!  Isn’t it amazing that God produces such things? …right now you are looking at something that has never existed before today, not in all the time since the beginning of the universe.  When it fades, it will never exist again – it is absolutely unique in the world.  Doesn’t it now seem more precious than when you first noticed it?”
          “Yes, Herr Professor.”
          “Yes,” von Kempen said, “and that is the way to approach music.  Every piece, every time you play it, is unique and irreplaceable.  You should open your ears and heart to every phrase, every note, and squeeze every drop of beauty you can from it.  Take nothing for granted!”

Cool, huh? 

Just think, you are “…something that has never existed before today, not in all the time since the beginning of the universe.”  We’re all works in progress.  Hybrids of some sort whether it’s from mother/father, nature/nurture or education of some kind.  Beautiful, fading, and awesome as we live and breathe.  We’ve just gotta squeeze every bit of beauty out of life we can, right?

I hope I can live my life opening my ears and heart to every phrase, every note, every moment.  I think that is truly one way of marveling and appreciating everything for whatever its worth.

Live every moment. 
Be the rose.
Dance to life.
Take nothing for granted.

 

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