(Musings written after performing at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market on July 9, 2021)
It’s always the children who stop to listen. Usually, their grown-ups don’t even notice those little feet stuck to the pavement. A big hand pulls on a little hand, rushing to complete errands, to get from point A to point B, to not make eye contact for fear of connecting.
That I have the vantage point to notice those little stuck feet may be my favorite part of what we do — to watch those eyes widen with amazement at the beauty of music – no matter its source. I can never help remembering my own early memories of music and wondering just where the notes will take those little feet in their journey.
Today, I watched a little girl toddle along — barely able to walk. And then I saw something I don’t see very often. It was not her stopping that surprised me; nor the way her eyes riveted to the magic that is a guitar in motion. No, these things are natural; these things are as common as the unfolding of spring. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, yes, but ordinary. All children will stop for music.
No, what was extraordinary (though I do so wish it were NOT extraordinary) was the way her mother noticed. I’m sure she was busy today. A farmer’s market is not a concert venue, and she was carrying a bag in her other hand, likely headed back to the car to rush on to other important to dos. The music did not call to her. It may not have been her soul’s song, or perhaps, like all of us, she was just too busy to hear it.
But then those little feet stopped. And that little hand tugged slightly against that big hand as she kept walking. She looked to see what had caused her sweet girl to stop moving. This in itself is a rarity, but that she knelt down and enjoyed it with that little girl for a moment was extraordinary. Such a sweet and tender moment that I see passed over so often — recognized, acknowledged, and shared.
The girl was so young that her memory will fade quickly, but the nourishment to her soul, the deep grounding of the music into her roots, and the gentleness of her mother’s care and attention will surely have an impact. And watching the mother revel in her daughter’s enjoyment, I realized that in noticing and sharing the experience, she had earned her own beautiful moment.
Sometimes we all need to be reminded of the wonder of the world.
It’s always the children who stop to listen. If we stop with them, we can hear it too.