Understanding what is good

August 11, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut often credits his uncle Alex with having said, during moments of simple pleasure, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” This is a special sentiment that is important in order that we take note and appreciate the moments that we are not suffering. I had one of these moments tonight, just about two hours ago. My belly was full of a healthful meal, my mind was light, and the dwindling bustle of the city quieted enough to allow the sound of a piano to reach my ears.

Denver began a project in November 2009 where they placed upright pianos along the streets, each one decorated and painted to be its own unique display of art. The project was called “Your Keys to the City”, and passers-by are welcome to sit down and play a tune. There are many of these pianos along the 16th street mall, which is really just a long stretch of road with shops along either side. These pianos give less fortunate people the opportunity to play some music, feed the soul of the city, and make some change while doing so.

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of hearing someone play beautiful music on one of these pianos. He had no sheet music, and I did not recognize any of the songs that he played, but he played slow, jazzy compositions with deep emotions. I sat on the city bench, alone, staring at nothing at all while this man slowly poured his heart into the air. Thanks to Kurt Vonnegut (or perhaps to Alex Vonnegut), I was able to take notice and say to myself, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

Tonight I will rest well.

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