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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Roses or Coffee

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
There was a story going around a few weeks ago. One of those annual holiday Ďfeel goodí things that we all get from time to time. Anyway, this one had to do with some famous violin player in Washington, D.C. Anyway, this accomplished musician (Joshua Bell) set up shop in a subway and played some of his most difficult pieces for a couple of hours. I checked this story out on one of the urban legend websites and it came back as being true.

During the couple of hours this guy was there he collected some 32 bucks in tips, but no one recognized him or the fact that he was playing on a violin worth over 3 million dollars. His performances are usually sold out with tickets going for $100 and higher.

The point of this was an experiment in how we perceive beauty. Given that Mr. Bell was not in his natural environment, it is somewhat of a surprise to learn that no one stopped to appreciate the work and artistry of this person.

This is the beginning of a new year. Iím thinking I need to slow down and smell the roses or the coffee or whatever there is to smell before itís too late. I have found myself driving slower these past few weeks and enjoying it more. Not to save gas, but to look around instead of just getting from point ĎAí to point ĎBí. Itís amazing what Iíve missed over these past years.

I am determined to get up earlier and stay up later. If I get up earlier, I get a head start on the day and donít have to rush so much to get everything done that I need to finish. I find that most of the stress I deal with on a daily basis is mostly of my own doing. So, my new motto for the coming year is to not sweat the small stuff and to consider it all small stuff.

I really should only worry about the things I can change or do something about. Most of the things that I encounter in a normal day I canít fix or do anything about, so why should I waste my time fooling with these things in the first place? As expressed in the beginning paragraph, there is beauty in everything around us, if we just take the time to look around and see it.

Sure, we get angry about our economy and our thieving politicians, but aside from voting and writing letters, what else is there for us to do? I will never stop expressing my opinion for as long as I live and couldnít care less if someone takes offense to it. Thatís one of the benefits of growing old. You get to do what you want and for the most part, say what you feel like saying when you want to say something. At least as long as it doesnít hurt anyoneís feelings that you care about. I put that last part in so everyone wonít think Iím a total curmudgeon. I love that word.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that life comes fast and furious, folks get born and folks die off every year of our being here on planet Earth. Some of them get gone before we have had a chance to even know what they were all about. Personally I think thatís a shame and I intend to do something about it. This year I am going to listen more and talk less. I want to know what is on peopleís minds and what they are all about. Everyone has a story to tell and all of us need someone to listen to our story. If weíre lucky we get to live a long time. How sad for us if we donít take a few minutes to stop and look around us and see all of the good things in our world. Lord knows we see enough bad.

So, look for me to slow down and listen more than I normally do since I think Iíve been missing some of the beauty of my lifetime. Never too late to play catch-up is there?

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America January 7, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com
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