Pearls Before Swine

hill

Hillscape

Frequent Photo

Right now I’m looking out the window and seeing Humboldt reclining against the couch of Earth, her breast-like hills swelling up and touching a coverlet of blue silk sky with tendrils of grass the color of a wedding ring.  And I almost feel the beauty inside.  But a half an hour ago I was moving through my email efficiently, reading and replying quickly focused on nothing more than words on screen.  Then a collection of those words changed the morning.

You know the emails.  They come almost every day–an inspiring story, a group of lovely photos, an essay…  Depending on your mood, you read them or not but either way they’re gone in a minute or two, right after you click delete.  However, once in awhile, one will grab you by the throat and you will read it gasping for breath.  Then the prints of its emotional fingers will stay on your skin and the bruises on your soul for days.  This morning I read that email.  Then I investigated it on Snopes.com which sent me to the original piece—which won a Pulitzer Prize.

And the writing in that piece….resonated. And when I finished my throat ached and my face was damp with tears.

Please, take five minutes and read the article.  It will make you think about your relationship to beauty and your relationship to your life.

It is called Pearls before Breakfast. It investigates what happens when a world class musician, playing on a 3 million dollar violin, treats a train station full of unprepared commuters to a passionate 45 minute concert.  Can we hear beauty or see beauty without its proper context?

Is there a way to see the pearls that drop around us even when we’re busy mucking out the pigpen?

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65 comments

  • Excellent!

    Thank you for passing it on!

  • Excellent!

    Thank you for passing it on!

  • Jaw dropping.

    Thanks for doing the Snope work . . .got an email the other day from a friend which claimed a great white shark had had formed an affectionate bond with a fisherman and wouldn’t stop following him around. It’s nice when people check out what they send/post.

  • Jaw dropping.

    Thanks for doing the Snope work . . .got an email the other day from a friend which claimed a great white shark had had formed an affectionate bond with a fisherman and wouldn’t stop following him around. It’s nice when people check out what they send/post.

  • Oooo excellent!!!! I love it. Thanks for sharing it Kym.

  • Oooo excellent!!!! I love it. Thanks for sharing it Kym.

  • You can’t have possibly read that in 5 minutes, could you?

    It’s an sad commentary on US culture. And as shown by the reaction of children, it’s what we’re taught, not what we’re born with.

    Your photo and commentary are beautiful. I took time to enjoy them.

    • Oops, I speed read so I think I did (But it was so good I could have been mesmerized into thinking it was less) and, in any case, I should have figured more time for the read. 10 minutes?

      Thanks for the kind words.

  • You can’t have possibly read that in 5 minutes, could you?

    It’s an sad commentary on US culture. And as shown by the reaction of children, it’s what we’re taught, not what we’re born with.

    Your photo and commentary are beautiful. I took time to enjoy them.

    • Oops, I speed read so I think I did (But it was so good I could have been mesmerized into thinking it was less) and, in any case, I should have figured more time for the read. 10 minutes?

      Thanks for the kind words.

  • …”Art without a frame…” For me, that phrase captured the whole story. I wonder how often I pass by someone on the street and miss who they are just because they aren’t ‘framed’ the way I expect great art (people) to be framed.

    I have friend who works at the homeless shelter has often mentioned how much she enjoys just sitting with the people as they eat their meals and listening to their stories. She has found a way to recognize the artist in those who are so often left beside the road.

    Great post, Kym.

    • That is the phrase that buzzed in my head today. And I agree that people without the “proper frame” go unappreciated. After that bad experience with the homeless guy a week ago raging in front on Shop Smart I’ve tended to depersonalize people outside the edge of society but you’ve reminded me that is not what I value or who I want to be. Love you.

  • …”Art without a frame…” For me, that phrase captured the whole story. I wonder how often I pass by someone on the street and miss who they are just because they aren’t ‘framed’ the way I expect great art (people) to be framed.

    I have friend who works at the homeless shelter has often mentioned how much she enjoys just sitting with the people as they eat their meals and listening to their stories. She has found a way to recognize the artist in those who are so often left beside the road.

    Great post, Kym.

    • That is the phrase that buzzed in my head today. And I agree that people without the “proper frame” go unappreciated. After that bad experience with the homeless guy a week ago raging in front on Shop Smart I’ve tended to depersonalize people outside the edge of society but you’ve reminded me that is not what I value or who I want to be. Love you.

  • Wow… Not only am I now more grateful for always playing catch up because appreciation of beauty too often puts me behind schedule, but also I’m grateful that Mainstream media can still write lengthy poetic articles that people still actually take the time to read and share! Best realization I’ve had all week!!!!

    Thank you!

    • Well said. I’m trying to find well done articles just to learn writing from. This one is the best I’ve read in awhile.

  • Wow… Not only am I now more grateful for always playing catch up because appreciation of beauty too often puts me behind schedule, but also I’m grateful that Mainstream media can still write lengthy poetic articles that people still actually take the time to read and share! Best realization I’ve had all week!!!!

    Thank you!

    • Well said. I’m trying to find well done articles just to learn writing from. This one is the best I’ve read in awhile.

  • Kym, you truely are one of the most talented and beautiful people I know.
    Thank you so much for your words, and your ‘find’ ( the article) and your time this past several days.
    I have been someone who stops and stands, bewildered, when I see and hear a great musician in an odd setting who is playing for the people passing by that do not even notice. I appreciate art and music whenever and where ever I find it. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kym, you truely are one of the most talented and beautiful people I know.
    Thank you so much for your words, and your ‘find’ ( the article) and your time this past several days.
    I have been someone who stops and stands, bewildered, when I see and hear a great musician in an odd setting who is playing for the people passing by that do not even notice. I appreciate art and music whenever and where ever I find it. Thank you for sharing.

  • I tried to spend the whole day looking for beauty. I failed but I’m still trying.

    • … I failed but I’m still trying.

      kiss a frog

      • Look into the eyes of your son (either one [how many do you have?], but I’m thinking of the one with the fractured skull) 😉 or look out your window. Kym, you are surrounded by beauty.

      • Susie, Might work but might not please the frog;>

        Toni, I have 3 sons and you’re right–when I stop looking at them like I should be working harder, doing more but instead just let them be and enjoy them, they are so beautiful my throat aches.

        • water you saying Kym? r u fishing for compliments? a kiss from you would surely be loved by a potential such and such. maybe start with one of those soft ones on the forehead, but then, after the ice is broken and you’re in the flow, take Suzys advice, what frogs really really really like is —wet> kisses!

  • I tried to spend the whole day looking for beauty. I failed but I’m still trying.

    • … I failed but I’m still trying.

      kiss a frog

      • Look into the eyes of your son (either one [how many do you have?], but I’m thinking of the one with the fractured skull) 😉 or look out your window. Kym, you are surrounded by beauty.

      • Susie, Might work but might not please the frog;>

        Toni, I have 3 sons and you’re right–when I stop looking at them like I should be working harder, doing more but instead just let them be and enjoy them, they are so beautiful my throat aches.

        • water you saying Kym? r u fishing for compliments? a kiss from you would surely be loved by a potential such and such. maybe start with one of those soft ones on the forehead, but then, after the ice is broken and you’re in the flow, take Suzys advice, what frogs really really really like is —wet> kisses!

  • Excellent. I would type more but the keyboard has gone blurry.

  • Excellent. I would type more but the keyboard has gone blurry.

  • That was an excellent article, and an eye-opening experiment. I love good music, even though I’m not a big fan of classical music, and I hope I would be one of the few who stood and listened and appreciated for a few minutes. However, when one is on a deadline, with dictatorial bosses on the other end of the commute, I can understand how some might be willing, but unable, to linger. Too bad the experiment didn’t take place where most people would have the time to listen and appreciate.

    I think Susan Boyle, the woman from Scotland who is so famous on You Tube now, qualifies as “art without a frame”.

  • That was an excellent article, and an eye-opening experiment. I love good music, even though I’m not a big fan of classical music, and I hope I would be one of the few who stood and listened and appreciated for a few minutes. However, when one is on a deadline, with dictatorial bosses on the other end of the commute, I can understand how some might be willing, but unable, to linger. Too bad the experiment didn’t take place where most people would have the time to listen and appreciate.

    I think Susan Boyle, the woman from Scotland who is so famous on You Tube now, qualifies as “art without a frame”.

  • What is art, beauty, or flavor, but how it is perceived in the eye, or taste, of the beholder.

    The setting in which something is perceived sometimes alters the experience. Art is much more appreciated when it can become the focus of your attention. Walking past a world class violinist in a train station is hardly the place to appreciate his mastery. Just like many things in life, the setting is the key, not your lack of taste. The beauty of a great romance is not appreciated nearly as well in the wrong setting. The same is true with music or food. Eating a gourmet meal at a sewer plant will not be nearly as appetizing, but you must understand what I mean. There is a time and place for everything. Anything great in the wrong setting is simply a waste.

    Some of our appreciation of art is influenced by our own personal experiences. For instance, my grandfather used to love Strauss Waltzes. I would listen to his music as a child, because of that, I grew up with a great love of waltz music, but I can hardly stand other classical music. Some people love goat cheese, but I can’t stand it, because as a child I was the one who got to stomp the filthy lanolin filled wool into the wool sacks. The flavor of goat cheese brings that horrid taste to back to my mouth, that I got stomping wool sacks. Watching someone savor goat cheese will almost make me throw up.

    So like I say; Beauty and taste is in the eye, or setting, of the beholder. Never expect me to appreciate a violinist in a train station.

  • What is art, beauty, or flavor, but how it is perceived in the eye, or taste, of the beholder.

    The setting in which something is perceived sometimes alters the experience. Art is much more appreciated when it can become the focus of your attention. Walking past a world class violinist in a train station is hardly the place to appreciate his mastery. Just like many things in life, the setting is the key, not your lack of taste. The beauty of a great romance is not appreciated nearly as well in the wrong setting. The same is true with music or food. Eating a gourmet meal at a sewer plant will not be nearly as appetizing, but you must understand what I mean. There is a time and place for everything. Anything great in the wrong setting is simply a waste.

    Some of our appreciation of art is influenced by our own personal experiences. For instance, my grandfather used to love Strauss Waltzes. I would listen to his music as a child, because of that, I grew up with a great love of waltz music, but I can hardly stand other classical music. Some people love goat cheese, but I can’t stand it, because as a child I was the one who got to stomp the filthy lanolin filled wool into the wool sacks. The flavor of goat cheese brings that horrid taste to back to my mouth, that I got stomping wool sacks. Watching someone savor goat cheese will almost make me throw up.

    So like I say; Beauty and taste is in the eye, or setting, of the beholder. Never expect me to appreciate a violinist in a train station.

  • Kym, I wonder what your prediction would have been?

  • Kym, I wonder what your prediction would have been?

  • I’ve been trying to read this article for the last couple of days and finally had a chance today. It took much longer than five or ten minutes, too. 🙂 Like you, my throat is constricted and I’m fighting back the tears. I was actually there, but a month later. I would sure like to think, if I had been fortunate enough to have been there a month prior, that I would have stopped to listen. I love music, took lessons in my youth (I won’t tell you on what instrument, as it is too embarrassing), and have a deep appreciation for Joshua Bell. It’s hard to imagine that people would just walk on by, with nary a glance in his direction. Such an interesting read – thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    And I don’t care what the man says, Joshua Bell is a freaking genius.

  • I’ve been trying to read this article for the last couple of days and finally had a chance today. It took much longer than five or ten minutes, too. 🙂 Like you, my throat is constricted and I’m fighting back the tears. I was actually there, but a month later. I would sure like to think, if I had been fortunate enough to have been there a month prior, that I would have stopped to listen. I love music, took lessons in my youth (I won’t tell you on what instrument, as it is too embarrassing), and have a deep appreciation for Joshua Bell. It’s hard to imagine that people would just walk on by, with nary a glance in his direction. Such an interesting read – thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    And I don’t care what the man says, Joshua Bell is a freaking genius.

  • Rvewong, I would have predicted less people would notice. I see how we treat the homeless and how we ignore so much of life. And we have to, Ernie’s right, without the right context, beauty gets lost. A great chef’s food eaten next to a sewer is not as good as a plain meal eaten in luxury. I can’t help but want to be different though. I want to think, like Toni, that I would have noticed the beauty but, if I’m honest, I’d probably have dropped in a dollar (I do almost all street musicians because I love street music) and hurried on.

  • Rvewong, I would have predicted less people would notice. I see how we treat the homeless and how we ignore so much of life. And we have to, Ernie’s right, without the right context, beauty gets lost. A great chef’s food eaten next to a sewer is not as good as a plain meal eaten in luxury. I can’t help but want to be different though. I want to think, like Toni, that I would have noticed the beauty but, if I’m honest, I’d probably have dropped in a dollar (I do almost all street musicians because I love street music) and hurried on.

  • beautiful photo. someone else just posted a note about that article .. I need to read it.

  • beautiful photo. someone else just posted a note about that article .. I need to read it.

  • I wonder how many people were affected by the music (either consciously or unconsciously) but showed no outward signs? I have seen and heard things that affected me deeply, but I know that if someone had been watching me at the time they would have thought I was completely oblivious. So I think at least some of those people who were hurrying past were thinking “Wow – that guy is really good – I wonder what he’s doing playing for change?” And maybe there were others who weren’t consciously aware of the music, but might have felt strangely uplifted and had a better day because of the experience.

    The experiment might not have been as revealing as it seemed because at that place and time people are in survival mode, so focused on getting where they need to go (which is dictated by train schedules, office politics, daycare hours, etc.,..) that they don’t have the luxury of physically stopping to listen –even to something beautiful. I think a truer test would have been to have him play on a Saturday, in a mall.

    As for the people who were waiting in line for lottery tickets – I have absolutely no excuse for them.

  • I wonder how many people were affected by the music (either consciously or unconsciously) but showed no outward signs? I have seen and heard things that affected me deeply, but I know that if someone had been watching me at the time they would have thought I was completely oblivious. So I think at least some of those people who were hurrying past were thinking “Wow – that guy is really good – I wonder what he’s doing playing for change?” And maybe there were others who weren’t consciously aware of the music, but might have felt strangely uplifted and had a better day because of the experience.

    The experiment might not have been as revealing as it seemed because at that place and time people are in survival mode, so focused on getting where they need to go (which is dictated by train schedules, office politics, daycare hours, etc.,..) that they don’t have the luxury of physically stopping to listen –even to something beautiful. I think a truer test would have been to have him play on a Saturday, in a mall.

    As for the people who were waiting in line for lottery tickets – I have absolutely no excuse for them.

  • A similar experiment at a recreation place (like a fair or a zoo) would be wonderful. I would love to see the results.

    I love the ambiance of music that street people provide so I almost always contribute but, I’m a bit of a music Cretan and rarely listen to music intently even at home while at peace. I wonder how many of the crowd might be like me but a great painting or a great athletic feat might catch some of us but not others. It is a mistake, I think, to assume that all of us are moved by the same stimuli. Still, I suspect, without the “frame” a lot of art/beauty is ignored.

    (I love hearing from you!)

  • A similar experiment at a recreation place (like a fair or a zoo) would be wonderful. I would love to see the results.

    I love the ambiance of music that street people provide so I almost always contribute but, I’m a bit of a music Cretan and rarely listen to music intently even at home while at peace. I wonder how many of the crowd might be like me but a great painting or a great athletic feat might catch some of us but not others. It is a mistake, I think, to assume that all of us are moved by the same stimuli. Still, I suspect, without the “frame” a lot of art/beauty is ignored.

    (I love hearing from you!)

  • While the wrong setting may obstruct or detract from our easy perception of beauty, my take is that this is a statement about mindset, more than setting.
    Beauty can be, and Is, everywhere but we are so often in our thinking busyminds, schedules, walled off from others and the environment. I’ll bet a number of people walking away smiling, or got some small uplift from a few phrases of beautiful music.
    Sometimes it is the contrast of beauty to the sterility and automatonic nature of the cities that makes for the greatest art.

  • While the wrong setting may obstruct or detract from our easy perception of beauty, my take is that this is a statement about mindset, more than setting.
    Beauty can be, and Is, everywhere but we are so often in our thinking busyminds, schedules, walled off from others and the environment. I’ll bet a number of people walking away smiling, or got some small uplift from a few phrases of beautiful music.
    Sometimes it is the contrast of beauty to the sterility and automatonic nature of the cities that makes for the greatest art.

  • Sewey, Cheatham, and Sowe

    We are representing a number of clients, who are tired of the deep seated pig prejudices (species-isms) inherent in the notion that pigs are not worthy of pearls.
    >gGamour, allure, and prestige are not limited to merely one species.
    A judge got cited for poor taste… “Nottingham, in a written ruling, included a picture of a pig wearing pearls, lipstick and sunglasses, saying the attorney’s argument was “no more availing than” the pig. ” thus disparaging pigs by comparing them to an attorney’s work. It’s not cewl to diss pigs anymore.

    In fact, the new parable is Give a pig a pearl necklace.

  • Sewey, Cheatham, and Sowe

    We are representing a number of clients, who are tired of the deep seated pig prejudices (species-isms) inherent in the notion that pigs are not worthy of pearls.
    >gGamour, allure, and prestige are not limited to merely one species.
    A judge got cited for poor taste… “Nottingham, in a written ruling, included a picture of a pig wearing pearls, lipstick and sunglasses, saying the attorney’s argument was “no more availing than” the pig. ” thus disparaging pigs by comparing them to an attorney’s work. It’s not cewl to diss pigs anymore.

    In fact, the new parable is Give a pig a pearl necklace.

  • loved the moon in the background which really makes the image very beautiful!

  • loved the moon in the background which really makes the image very beautiful!

  • It’s so sad how few people recognized this great wonder for what it was. May I never miss anything that grand when it is right in front of my face.

  • Fantastic, thanks for sharing! I would have stopped, by the way – or at least I’d like to think I would . . .

  • Fantastic, thanks for sharing! I would have stopped, by the way – or at least I’d like to think I would . . .

  • Thanks Kym, this article made me appreciate Humboldt oddly enough. I don’t believe that that would ever have happened here. For one, we don’t have the “time-clock” mentallity. Even those of us that do have to punch one, most of us and our bosses understand and forgive a little “humboldt time”. Secondly, we as a culture appreciate the arts a little more here. I personally have stopped my car along a dirt road to watch the sun set, pulled out my camera when I find an amazing flower, stood in the freezing cold to listen to children playing instruments outside of Cecil’s, ignored the phone, the computer AND the tv, to listen to my children’s laughter. I’m not saying I always stop to enjoy the bountiful beauty around me but I believe as a whole we tend to appreciate it more than most.

  • Thanks Kym, this article made me appreciate Humboldt oddly enough. I don’t believe that that would ever have happened here. For one, we don’t have the “time-clock” mentallity. Even those of us that do have to punch one, most of us and our bosses understand and forgive a little “humboldt time”. Secondly, we as a culture appreciate the arts a little more here. I personally have stopped my car along a dirt road to watch the sun set, pulled out my camera when I find an amazing flower, stood in the freezing cold to listen to children playing instruments outside of Cecil’s, ignored the phone, the computer AND the tv, to listen to my children’s laughter. I’m not saying I always stop to enjoy the bountiful beauty around me but I believe as a whole we tend to appreciate it more than most.

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