On a day off from working for Sewanee Summer Music Festival, I decided to go for a hike. There is a trail very near Sewanee, Tennessee that is consistently rated one of the best hiking trails in the country called the Fiery Gizzard Trail. I eventually hiked all of it in sections.
Starting from one of the trail heads on this particular day, I saw a sign for a side trail to something called Foster Falls. When I hiked down to it, I was overwhelmed by the view.
I realized in that place that I was extremely fortunate to be able to see something like that. Not everyone has the means or the ability to seek out nature and observe it in the way that I was. There was something about the feeling that felt overwhelmingly human. I am sure there are animals that pass by that beautiful grotto every day, indifferent to it because it is a part of their home, but I could see and appreciate its beauty. I felt extremely privileged to be able to be experiencing the emotions I was feeling.
And I realized that the same goes for music. Not everyone has the means or ability to hear music and still more will not truly appreciate it. While listening to classical music, I often feel like I am the animals sauntering past the gorgeous waterfall, indifferent to it. I have had the privilege to hear so much amazing music that sometimes I fail to grasp its incredibility.
And so, when I returned to my job at the classical music, orchestra festival, I started to appreciate the music that was being created on a much more spiritual level. Whereas at the beginning of the summer, my jaded outlook precluded any kind of novel experience, I could now see each performance as something special and meaningful.
I I ever find myself fed up with listening to Beethoven’s 5th for the 1000th time, or hearing yet another string quartet, I will always remember Foster Falls. I will remember that playing and hearing music is a privilege and an honor.