Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Music Muses

"Estes Park" by Albert Bierstadt
Happy Epiphany!  I was at the art museum last week (if you're in Denver I'll take you for free!) thanks to a membership that my internship parish gave me at the beginning of the year.  Denver has quite a big museum and it takes a long time to get through, so I give myself an hour or so every couple weeks to do a floor...that way I don't get overwhelmed with all the art.

Anyway, I was on a floor I hadn't been to yet and it was filled with paintings of the "wild west" as well as landscapes of Colorado.  I got to a room where the obvious focal point was the painting above.  It's about 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide and the benches in the center of the room point directly to it.  At two of the chairs, there were iPods with headphones.  There were several playlists with discriptors like "majestic" which hinted at the music they were going to play.

I sat down, put on the headphones, and clicked a playlist.  The first song that came up was "Tis a Gift" by Allison Kraus and YoYo Ma.  I listened through to the end, looking at the painting and letting it consume my entire range of vision.  I put myself in the foreground of the painting, thinking about people who struggled to live in that land in front of the mountains, considering what life must have been like for the native people who lived there first, and later those who settled from Europe.  Then, the song was over and I went to another playlist.  The first song that came up on this one was "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copeland.  This song immediately drew my focus to the peaks of the mountains, and my heart swelled with the orchestra and I felt such amazement at what God created.

2 songs.  1 painting.  2 drastically different experiences.  I think this says a lot about life...when we listen to the soundtrack of our lives one way, positively, for example...our focus is on that.  When we listen to the soundtrack of our lives another way, negatively, for example....our focus becomes on the cynical.  It's the same life, we just get to choose how we listen to the world around us.

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