This I Believe

Elizabeth - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on November 20, 2006

While dawdling around Old Town several Fridays ago I came across something extraordinarily alive. An elderly black saxophone player, accompanied by a boom box, was playing jazzy tunes for all the walkers-by, silently asking for monetary applause by way of a worn black case open at his feet. I stopped to take it in, and as I reached into my bag intending to add some weight to his case, two blonde children, a brother and sister, walked right up to him and started swaying to the music. The man smiled and started playing harder, louder, started tapping his feet. The kids took their cue and started dancing, twirling, jumping, running, spinning. The little boy hopped around to the beat for a few minutes while his older sister, obviously a seasoned ballerina, practiced her chasses, plies, changements, and arabesques. The energy amongst those three; the saxophone player, the girl, and the boy, did not wane, but rather grew. Ten minutes later an audience developed and I walked away as not to have to see it end.

I believe that if you are patient with the world, it will show you things that will knock you senseless with wonder. I believe in watching closely, in absorbing every feature of your surroundings. I believe in the details. I believe in Friday nights, cities, street musicians, boom boxes, and jazz. I believe in unembarrassed expression, in dancing, in twirling, in physical proof that you are alive, full, and writhing with energy. I believe in the unifying property of music, its ability to bring people of different races, ages, genders, economic backgrounds, origins, and mindsets to the same street corner, to the same impromptu concert, to the same sense of fascination. I believe in children, in youth and in impulsiveness. I believe in acceptance and the intimacy which it fosters. I believe in the power of the minority to affect and touch the majority. I believe that simplicity and complexity are equally beautiful and purposeful. I believe in the passion, value, and potential of the individual. I believe in the absurdity of that unlikely street corner trio. I believe in the glory of all forms of ridiculousness, weirdness, and strangeness.