missing beauty

i apologize for neglecting this blog and yours.  i have been really busy, which is so unlike me.  i have been selling on ebay like a madwoman.  i've made enough money to purchase some drapes for the living room and i cannot wait to get them and see if i love them as much as i think i'm going to.  i've also been sewing which is also very unlike me.  the other day a gang of us girls took melinda shopping for a dress for her 40th high school reunion.  needless to say we had a blast and she is going to look stunning in her royal blue maxi dress with a great big turquoise necklace.  she really took my breath away.  she is undergoing chemo and her serenity is mind-blowing. 

the other day i happened upon this article/short story, have you read it?  i hope you take a moment to read it.  i sprinkled a few pictures of the garden in between. 

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.

The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule. 4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. 10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time.

This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.. 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32. 1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: *In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. How many other things are we missing?



  1. I did read that story before. It's amazing and not in a good way. I like to think I would have stopped to listen.
    Good for you selling on Ebay!

  2. Oh that's a beautiful story, I would have rushed by alas.

  3. Beautiful and sad.
    Makes you wonder how many things we miss each day...if we lived like today was our last day on this beautiful earth, we'd never be able to cram it all in. I would not have known it was him probably, but I believe at this stage of my life, I would have stopped.
    Janet, you have a wonderful talent for always presenting thoughtfulness, simplicity and beauty in the most perfect way ~
    and your a fantastic friend. :)

  4. Hello Janet:
    What interesting questions are posed here by the story of Joshua Bell playing incognito in an underground station. If something is 'free' is it valued and is everyone so very busy that they cannot spare a moment to be diverted from their business?

    Many times we attend diploma 'concerts' at the Music Academy here in Budapest which are free, given by the most talented young musicians in the world today, last for an hour or two and are rarely attended by more than six people. Every day, these small and beautiful treasures are there for the taking, whether in the garden, the concert hall or the underground station but is everyone just too busy to see?

  5. I had never heard this, I love it! I think it also says something about how so many of us are afraid to make up our own minds about what is worthy of our attention. It's fascinating how the kids were the only ones with the unprejudiced ears! Thank you for posting this!

  6. Oh, wow... what a great post. Thank you.
    Also, where is your link to ebay? We, your admiring fans, would love to buy from you on ebay. You give so much to us.
    SF BayArea

  7. Hola mi querida Janet, this is a very interesting experiment which I have heard have being done before and always we are in a hurry and don´t even perceive the beauty around... wow!!

    Love to know that you are doing new things in your life and your flowers are lovely.
    hugs dear

  8. Interesting story, and I like that the children were the ones who really noticed. We can learn a lot from youngsters, seeing things anew through their eyes.

    Thank you for sharing Melinda's dress shopping adventure...I have been wondering about how she is doing. My hairdresser has her surgery today and she is very nervous...as to what her prognosis will be.
    Cancer is such a nasty beast.

    I love your garden images...we really need to seek out beauty in our lives.

    Will you link what you are selling on ebay here so we might buy something?

  9. Wow,makes one think doesn't it!!

  10. Good for you selling your items on ebay. It does take a lot of work and organisation. But it is wonderful all the new things one can get - I got enough for a new old sewing machine also off Trade me (the ebay equivalent we have in New Zealand)

    Loved the story about Joshua Bell - I know in a train station people are rushing to catch next train or bus and often wouldn't have the luxury of time to stop and enjoy.

    I'm so greatful our families lifestyle is not one of being in the rat race.

    Love Leanne

  11. I love this too. Humans really have to be conscious to enjoy beauty. As a former commuter, I can relate to moving through space around me on "automatic". Rosanne

  12. That's an interesting story. I would like to think that we bloggers would notice. We would stop, we would listen, we would take pictures and we'd blog about the amazing violinist we say at the train station. That's what I would like to believe.

    I'm glad that ebay is working out. I think I told you that I had a long history of buying and selling on ebay and, for the most part, it was a really positive experience. Every know and then you run into a real asshole who takes advantage of you but I found it a lot of fun.

  13. What an eye-opening experiment. Sometimes, I think we are all just a bunch of sheep, liking or disliking things because that is what everybody else does.

    We are also so oblivous - caught up in our own little worlds to notice the wonderful things that go on around us. This post really makes me stop and think.

    And I am SO happy Melinda is serene and that she is going to look smokin' hot for her reunion.

    I need to get my arse on eBay...like yesterday. I can't wait to off load some of my junk. Hugs, A

  14. Here's wishing Melinda a pleasant reunion and may her serenity continue--this is good. And you are such a good and supportive friend to her. The article you posted is powerful--amazing, isn't it?
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  15. Janet, I adore the story. I think as I have aged I have learned to slow down and appreciate the people and things around. I don't know that I would have recognized him, because the situation would have been out of context. I do hope I would have stopped and appreciated the beautiful music.

    Your flowers are lovely. The foxglove is breathtaking.

    You will show us your new curtains?

    I hope your friend is doing well. I think of the two of you often.

  16. Excellent post; so true for all of us.

  17. One of my very favorite stories, and love your "illustrations," too.

  18. Janet,
    I love violin music, i would have had to stop and listen. Even if the person isn't famous, those that play on corners or subways, are still talented. So happy you are blogging again.I miss your fashion photos. Smiles, Susie

  19. This is a great story. I've been a music teacher for 25 years.....what would this world be without beautiful music?

  20. What a wonderful story and a thoughtful reminder. I had not read it so I thank you for sharing. And now, to search for you on eBay. I've been selling a lot as well lately. Many, many items leaving. Very, very few items coming in. Just the way I like it :).

  21. I had read it and it made me cry.

    Now I've cried again.

    Funny funny world.

    have been missing you.

    xo jane

  22. Dear Janet, It is very heartening that the children wanted to stop and listen. In our modern world adults are trained to collect only the information that they need. I know from teaching art to adults that they do not really 'see' and have to be encouraged to look more fully. So sad that the beautiful music did not stop those busy people in their tracks.

    (Hope you are planning to remain a dark haired beauty and not turn grey!)

  23. Thank you for sharing this profoundly awakening post.

  24. I have read the article and am happy to be reminded of it. Thank you, Janet.
    I also am happy that you wrote about Melinda. Give her a big hug and tell her how I admire her for not allowing her treatment to put on hold opportunities to be with friends old and new. That takes spunk.

  25. Hi Janet, I love this story, and I agree that perception can be skewed. Your garden looks lovely and summery. Very Great Gatsby and pretty. Well done. Have you seen Anna Spiro's online shop? Have a squiz, it's delicious. x

  26. Glad you're having success with ebay. What type of things are you selling? Is it complicated to do?

  27. That story teaches us a good lesson. No matter how busy we are, we should always stop, look around, and appreciate all the beautiful things in this world, and give thanks that SOMEONE GREATER created all this just for us.

  28. There are so many musicians playing in the streets of Vienna, silence became the true luxury.

    I like to listen to music when I decide to, not per accident. I also can't stand music in restaurants or cafés. I guess here is the victim of urban (=noisy) environment talking. ;-)

  29. Janet - I love your posts, this one is no exception. Beautiful story, lovely pictures.

    I've been contemplating selling on ebay, have you ever considered writing a post about your ebay experiences?

  30. Great post, great story! Glad to hear about your friend and her strength.

  31. This story takes my breath away. Thought provoking story!

  32. I have heard that story before--it is a good one!

    I have been busy like you on Ebay...can't believe how time consuming it can be. Plus I have an etsy store I am trying to do more with too. Crazy times.

    I absolutely adore your second picture. Frame worthy.


  33. Janet,

    I don't know how I missed this post, but so glad I happened onto it tonight. I have read this story and love it and am so happy to be reminded of it. It's funny, but I think it's reading blogs that has made me slow down and notice things more...that and moving my children across the country at tender ages...I'm much kinder now...I would like to think I would stop and listen and enjoy the moment.

    It is wonderful to hear of Melinda's strength and serenity....the power of girlfriends is truly amazing and I'm sure you are helping her immensely.

    xo annie

  34. Hi - Janet (it's me, Deborah, from Boxwood Terrace..new blog here). That is a wonderful story and a good reminder to take in beauty wherever we find it. I've seen Joshua Bell with the BSO and he is an amazing talent. I wish I'd been in DC and in the Metro station that day.....

  35. Hi,Janet,

    This story was new to me, and it is a sad commentary on modern,urban life. In order to survive,we must choose which stimuli to latch onto and which to let go of, as there is far too much in the world. This is partly why I have chosen to live close to nature and in a small college town where the pace is slower, but not stalled out. As with most things in life, the answers lie in striving to achieve a balance and being open to moments of spontaneous beauty.

    Thanks for sharing this incredible story!

  36. Totally amazing. If only those people had known!


kindness is never out of style.

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