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Slow down - You move too fast!


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Forwarded to me by a fellow rider.


I think I would have paused, I usually do when I see or hear something that is above and beyond.


The other day I was going through some old mechanical drawings in our archives when I ran into a series of drawings, in pencil of a complex piece of equipment.

I was in awe of the skill of the draftsman who did them, absolutely beautiful works of art! Line weights, lettering flawless.


Take a look at this experiment!


Busy Busy

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Dave McReynolds

I read the article, and wasn't too surprised with the results of the experiment. Nor could I bring myself to feel any disappointment with the reactions of the passers-by, even though the rather lengthy message spent a lot of time setting the stage as to why the appearance of this talented and famous violinist should have generated more response than it did, and that the passers-by missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


I probably would have been one of the passers-by that gave the musician a glance and walked on by. If I am leaving a train in a metropolitan area, the chances are I have a business appointment within minutes, or knowing me, I'd probably already be five minutes late.


If Jesus were handing out free passes to heaven, I would probably walk on by. Not that I wouldn't like a free pass to heaven, and I would like to meet Jesus, but I wouldn't expect that to happen in the middle of a busy train station when I'm late for an appointment, and I hope Jesus would forgive me for that. If Jesus or the musician would just pick a venue where I had a little more time, like maybe on the Embarcadero in San Francisco when I'm walking around looking at the sights, then I'm sure I would be a lot more receptive.


I'm sorry, but I just couldn't get to the point of making myself feel stupid or apologetic because I missed an opportunity wholly unrelated to what I was doing when I was hurrying to get to work on time or somewhere else I thought it was important to be.

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With my job, one second late is trouble for me. But I've been listening to those fine Rush-ing Canadians today. A little Peart just after breakfast on this topic:



Time Stands Still


I turn my back to the wind

To catch my breath

Before I start off again

Driven on without a moment to spend

To pass an evening

With a drink and a friend.


I let my skin get too thin

I'd like to pause

No matter what I pretend

Like some pilgrim who learns to transcend

Learns to live as if each step was the end.


Time stand still

I'm not looking back

But I want to look around me now

See more of the people

And the places that surround me now.


Freeze this moment

A little bit longer

Make each sensation

A little bit stronger

Experience slips away.


I turn my face to the sun

Close my eyes

Let my defenses down

All those wounds

That I can't get unwound.


I let my past go too fast

No time to pause

If I could slow it all down

Like some captain

Whose ship runs aground

I can wait until the tide

Comes around.


Make each impression

A little bit stronger

Freeze this motion

A little bit longer

The innocence slips away.


Summer's going fast

Nights growing colder

Children growing up

Old friends growing older

Experience slips away.

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I wish I could say I would have behaved differently, but L'Enfant Plaza is a very busy place -- especially at 7:51 on a weekday morning in January. Joshua Bell and the commuters of Washington were set up by the WaPo.


There have been times when I have been transfixed by sound, and had the time to soak it in. In 1965, late on a winter Saturday afternoon, I walked with a small group into the church where the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople resides. Two small antiphonal choirs were singing in Byzantine Greek. Hundreds of candles were burning at the back of the church. A couple of priests came out swinging censers, then the Patriarch emerged. We stood there transfixed for an hour, hypnotized by the sounds and smells.


In 1977 my wife and I visited the Blue Mosque at dusk. A solitary worshiper was reciting verses from the Qur'an. Again, we stood transfixed.


A few years ago, while driving home from work, on the radio I heard Marta Sebestyen singing "Gold, Silver, or Love," and I burst into tears at the sheer beauty of the song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKA5uQSYR-w


But, if I had been at L'Enfant Plaza on that undoubtedly cold morning in January, I would probably have blown right past him like almost everyone else, because I would have been on my way to an appointment or to work, no matter how much I would have liked to stop to listen to the music.

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In 2007 Beth and I went to Italy, where street musicians are everywhere. Our last day in Venice, as we stood in front of the Madonna Della Salute Church (across the canal from Piazza San Marco), a lady cellist set up a chair, and, accompanied by a boom box, began to play. I had to drag Beth away when the vaporetto came to take us to the train station.

Then, on our first day in Firenze (Florence), we encountered a lady singing arias in back of the Duomo. The acoustics there were such that you could hear her at the front of the Duomo, which is about 150 yards away, above the crowd noise (and there is always a big noisy crowd there.) On the end where she was singing, the noise was almost non existent, and her voice was phenomenal. We later sat and ate gelato in the square of the city fathers and listened to a violinist one night, then a guy playing guitar the next night, and the Duomo lady showed up too.

Beautiful stuff.

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