Sight, Sound, and Solace

When the chaos of the world's evil begins to encroach, it's time to grab hold of the nearest lifeline of beauty.  Inextricably linked as it is to order, beauty in all its forms is the best stress relief.  For me, one of the best sources of true leisure and calm is a symphony concert.

I'm an auditory learner, not visual; so while some would see colors and shapes in the instruments' sounds, I sense rather than see threads of sound, weaving together a tapestry of texture.  The conductors' hands seem to take on a life of their own, gently grasping or sharply tugging on a strand to fit it into the pattern of the whole.  As my eyes dart around the stage, my ear is picking out layers, and eye and ear work together to connect part and whole.

Each instrument and its sound has a particular character, and I love them all.  The trombone is at its best in its nobility, the violin as a dance partner, the clarinet when it's showing off at a party, the French horn when reassuring, the cello as the hero of the story, the flute when it's on a walk in the woods, the percussion when excited about a surprise, the oboe as it enjoys its quirkiness.  But they each have so many tones and moods!  Sometimes it is a scavenger hunt to hear a sound, and send my eyes quickly to figure out what instrument is making it.

While my ear enjoys the varying textures of each instrument, my eye follows the shimmer on brass bells, the flute's twinkling silver, and the many warm, mellow shades of wood.  Even if my mind is bouncing around to fifty other things, it's perforce relaxed, as I sense and feel the supreme order of the music.  There is nothing disorderly in a symphony or concerto, and there is overwhelming beauty in the skill of a virtuoso.

Attending an orchestra concert can be a time to speak to God or merely to enjoy the things of His creation, to set my mind in order, or to toss aside the chaos of life to be refreshed in a moment of beauty.  Deo gratias for the occasional solace of the symphony!