I left Washington D.C. on July 21 and started cycling on the C&O Towpath. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal starts in D.C. and goes to Cumberland, MD. It has been dufunct since 1924, but the towpath has been restored as a bicycle/hiking path from D.C. to Cumberland, MD. From Cumberland to Pittsburgh it’s the old P & LE RR (Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Rail Road). The old RR bed has been restored into a bicycle trail. 333 miles total. I biked it in six days and then Lydia picked me up in Pittsburgh. A great time of refreshing, praying, clearing my head, exercise… and even some ministry along the way: a church service near Needmore, PA and several divine appointments along the trail. (See my FB for daily diary.)
After six days of almost 60 miles of biking a day, we took a trip out west to visit family and for six days I just sat around, eating and talking! :-/ Now I’m “back in the saddle again” in my office.
I was just in Washington, DC and I’m a musician, so allow me to share this unrelated true story:
In Washington DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
After about four minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule. At about eight minutes, the violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk. At six minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. At ten minutes, a three-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 the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly. For forty-five minutes the musician played continuously. Only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected $32. After one hour he finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. He put his violin in the case.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played some of the most intricate pieces ever written while playing a 300 year old Stradivarius violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell played to a sold-out a theater in Boston where people paid $100 a seat to hear him play the same music.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.
This experiment raised several questions: In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, 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 as we rush through life?
“What I to you, I say to everyone: Watch!” -Jesus