An Appreciation
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… as in the Prelude to the Afternoon of Said Faun…

I find the concept of these animations fascinating (another very good “F” word), if not always entirely accurate. But some pieces are so deceptively complex, that to put everything in would only defeat the purpose of the animations’ existence.
This animation is one of those times.

I don’t suppose I can tell you how much this particular piece means to me; nor how incensed I become at anything that takes my concentration from it – especially if the source of distraction is my own lack of ‘listener discipline’.

So imagine me taking a commuter train into the city, and having this glorious, rapturous piece come up on the iPod.
I cranked it all the way up.
Hey, if I can survive sitting in front of any number of brass sections for all those years, I can take anything Steve Jobs can dish out.
And at around the 5:50 mark in the above recording (which is always just about where it stabs me in the heart, on those days when the discipline is good), a very small boy comes striding up the aisle of the train, bouncing off the passengers sitting in the aisle seats – one arm jammed all the way up his shirt, pumping his arm-pit organ like there was no tomorrow.

Now, I couldn’t hear the music he was undoubtedly making.
But if effort is any indication, he certainly deserved to sit first chair in the arm-pit section.
And normally I’d have been angry at any intrusion upon my own private meditations.
But how can you get mad at such an exhibition of the exuberance of youth?

Of course, the boy’s rhythm left quite a bit to be desired, when coupled with Debussy’s music.
But to insist upon that level of mystical ensemble would have been too much to ask for – and might have led one to believe that the entire incident had been staged just for my enjoyment.

Which it might very well have been, for all that I know.
But to insist upon being the reason for such delights seems to me to be quite staggeringly rude.
I think Joy is always there, waiting to be noticed – so that it may include us in on the fun.
Honestly… I’m just happy to have been able to get out of my own way – to have found the personal discipline to take the ‘me’ right out of it.

Using ‘me’ to remove ‘myself’ seems to be one of those paradoxes of life for which we have no explanation.
But it has such a terribly practical application.
It works.

Image found here.

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