It never ceases to amaze me how many people have so much talent. Whenever I listen to beautiful singers and musicians or watch graceful dancers or look at painters, sculptors, architects or designers, I am enthralled by how they even have the ability to know they have such talent. I know that some of it is learned but I believe a lot of it is God given talent. They have to do their art. They don’t choose it. It chooses them. It consumes them. It embodies them.
I am the person in the museum or at the concert hall in tears overwhelmed by the beauty. I am not embarrassed or ashamed and don’t make any excuses for my excess. I only wish I could be that prolific. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in my craft and I have developed a sense of artistry from the years of practice. But this is something else. This is beyond knowledge. This is magic.
And it’s not only that they are talented but they have the power to fight through the fear of failure and just go for it. The letters of Van Gogh to his brother Theo are heartbreaking. Van Gogh suffered and in his madness lies his genius but the depth of his emotion and commitment to his craft is astounding. He never made a dime but the richness he has given millions is priceless. I only wish I could tell him in person how he changed my way of looking at color.
Or Billie Holiday who was riddled with drug addiction but literally cried when she sang. Not with tears but with emotion. She makes me cry not only because I am sad for her but because she is able to bring up emotion in me that I didn’t even know existed. On the other hand, Ella Fitzgerald makes me smile at how effortlessly she can scat and play with her lyrics. Her Summertime is one of my favorites. But that same song can take on a different meaning when Kathleen Battle sings it. It’s not just her miraculous voice that consumes me but the sheer passion she sings with that makes this lullaby take on an eerie tone. Totally different than Ella but no more spectacular.
I was working in Metaline Falls, Washington and was driving to work one morning listening to Leslie Garret singing Dome Epais. The music itself was so beautiful but the scenery through the mist of the early morning hour made it even more so. I turned a corner and there in the middle of the road was a huge male deer with full antlers, his majestic head thrown back as if to let out a cry. Steam came out of his nostrils and his stance was powerful and strong. All of a sudden a female deer and her baby came up from the forest and ran across the road. It was clear he was there to guard the crossing of his family. When the mother and baby were safely across, he was gone in an instant into the forest. With the music playing and the vision of such bravery from this deer I just started to sob. It was overwhelming. And now, every time I listen to her sing that song I am back in Metaline Falls, Washington and experiencing that moment all over again.
Her beautiful voice and talent was enhanced by the beauty and talent of nature that is also God given. How grateful am I to be aware and not ashamed of my emotions with so much in this world that is worth celebrating. I guess my childlike wonder and fascination with anything that is enveloped in passion is a talent that has been given to me without practice or knowledge.