Small and a Measure of Music

Last night, lying in bed next to my seven-year-old granddaughter Amelie, waiting for her to fall asleep, I began concentrating on the music playing on her boom box. It was a disc titled
“Chill with Chopin,” and as I listened to what I think was a sonata, I found myself waiting for the recurring measures.

As I waited for my favorite notes to repeat, for the first time, I appreciated the gift of creating music, some humans are graced with. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. But I can listen with my full attention, I can receive the beauty another human has created for me, I thought. And that ability to listen and receive might be a gift as well.

I continued listening, Amelie breathing softly beside me, and marveled that the notes were becoming distinct one from the other. And that as they emerged separately, I was able to appreciate them both individually and collectively, as single notes or chords, and as passages from one note or chord to the next.

The more I listened, the more I felt the music penetrating, finding a place to rest deep within me. Each time the measure returned, it burrowed deeper, until at last I wondered if the notes were entering me on a cellular level, becoming part of me in a way I couldn’t fathom. And if the notes were becoming part of me, I was connecting to the musician who created them and their sequence. Listening intently, I was drawing him toward me, or moving toward him through the music he had created.

While Amelie sank into a deeper and deeper sleep, her hand that had been grasping mine relaxing and letting go, I felt more and more awake.

This is the power of small.

And now I invite you to share this experience with me. Sit down within the next day or so, and listen to some music. Classical, jazz, folk, it doesn’t matter. Once you’ve settled in to listening, find a recurring moment—it might be a measure, a refrain, a riff—that particularly appeals to you. And listen even more deeply.

As you’re doing this, appreciate the power of small.

Crack in Concrete

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