I recently discovered The Avett Brothers. They have been around for some time, but I just found this song a few days ago. I think it already has about 50 plays on my iTunes. It is such a plaintive and honest song that I’ll ignore the grammatical errors. 🙂
My most favorite band is one that probably most have not heard. Carbon Leaf plays some combination of world, celt, acoustic, vaguely bluegrass influenced….beauty. Barry, the singer and lyricist, is incredible and wrote the line I wish I had written above all others, “and my dreams just grew back to normal size.” Carter is a master on any instrument that has a string. I have followed this band since they were in college twenty years ago, and I’ve seen them in nine states. (The restraining order doesn’t deter me.)
I recently returned from a river running trip in Idaho. I have traveled, camped, hiked, skied, trekked, and explored a lot in all of the lower 48. I knew the area where this river ran. I was still stunned by the magnificence of the place. Mountains lunging skyward envelop the river that has cut through their secrets. One afternoon I just had to climb one of those mountains so I could get another perspective.
My weak photo does not do this spectacular place justice.
My point in all this is the incredible things I discover every day that I make a little effort. There are talented artists and beautiful places all around us. It only takes a walk or a google search to reveal them. I have read a lot of books. There are very few of those online quizzes about “how many of these books have you read,” that I haven’t read pretty much all of them. I studied art enough to appreciate, and I’ve been to some of the great museums.
Instead of running out of beauty, I find that I find it more and more as I age and pause to look for it. Every day, musicians, writers, dancers, poets, painters, craftspeople, farmers, and street performers are creating beauty and art. No matter how well traveled you are, there is so much left to discover. No matter how educated or experienced, there is more to experience.
Being a writer, I have a lot of writer friends. I have read dazzling books and stories that may never be published. I imagine what I would encounter if I had more musician or painter or sculptor or chef or glass blowing friends. I am cynical and humans disgust me very often. What we can create, what we can do with our minds…science, art, philosophy…gives me hope on those days that my own demons are winning.
Go to your local farmer’s market. Wander among nearby galleries. Pick a book that isn’t on the bestseller lists. Find a local band and go see them. Go somewhere you’ve never been. There is new and unexpected beauty out there. We have to try just a little to find it.