Watching a symphony can be more enjoyable if you have a little musical training. Knowing that the bows of the violins are not all up at the same time just because it looks good – knowing that the bowing structure directly relates to the notes on the page and that someone chose the best of many alternative bowings for that piece – makes the performance a greater pleasure.
Drilling down into such nuance and how it affects beauty feeds a sense of wonder when listening to a live orchestra.
The tempo of a vibrato affects the impact of a note – it’s a nuance in the overall scheme of things. The quality of a parmesan affects the flavor of a risotto. The energy of a smile affects the person who gives and receives it. Tempo, quality, energy – all nuances.
As I travel, I don’t have the knowledge to thoroughly appreciate the nuances in everything I see – the art, buildings, cuisine… I fear that I don’t always experience the sense of wonder these accomplishments deserves. However, there is a technique that can help.
I have been watching the Netflix series Rectify. It’s a somewhat frustrating series to watch as it’s slow and the main character (Daniel) has a tentative sense of wonder for just about everything after having been in prison for nineteen years. But, there is one scene in which Daniel is at a museum. He meets a woman and expresses his frustration at not feeling the wonder of a piece before them because he looked at a representation of it in books for so many years. The woman replies with a powerful idea.
To experience wonder in a piece of art, try to imagine yourself present at the moment of its completion – when the last note is written in the symphony, when the last word is typed in a novel or the last brush stroke made on a painting. There is a moment of completion that only the creator can determine. When that moment arrives, there has to be a sense of wonder. Placing yourself there causes one to look at the piece in all its parts and its entirety. Is everything done? Is every shadow complete, every surface polished as it should be…
I plan to take this technique with me on my travels. It gives me an avenue into new worlds of wonder.
Touch people’s lives.
I also recently saw the film Chef and was, again, given a line that made me think – though, in this case, it was simply a prompt to give new consideration to an old concern.
Talented yet frustrated by the limitations of working for someone else, our Chef, Carl Casper, turns to owning a food truck and making Cubanos sandwiches. He takes great care with each ingredient’s selection and preparation and then puts them together in a Cubano that makes his customers knees buckle. He works with a passion and, as he says: “I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do.”
Living a life of passion and touching other people’s lives is an honorable quest – in life and in travel. And while I know that as we travel we can’t always connect with locals in significant ways, we can in small (sandwich-like) ways. Through a smile that shares good energy, a tip of true thanks, a courtesy that surprises the recipient… and by sharing our joy and wonder at a statue in a park or a busker on the street.
Tap into what is truly wonderful around you.
Allow your sense of wonder free.
Share and touch people’s lives.