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Looking at Extremes

As I wrote in What Lasts, classical music performances are an excellent place for me to think and tune out distractions. In addition to the suggestion that ideas are the durable commodity of our time, during that cello concert, I had another thought that was interesting to me.

Matthew is a twenty year old, and he's an excellent cello player. I have no idea if he's excellent amongst the field of professional cello players, but I mean that he's excellent in that he can play complex cello pieces well enough that they sound perfect to an amateur like me.

It's an interesting thing, learning to play cello. People have been learning to play cello for hundreds of years. It's an old trade. Some might even call it an antiquated trade.

Another antiquated trade is small-farm tea growing. I spent a couple days on a tea farm in Fujieda, Japan last year. The family that ran the farm ranged in age from mid twenties to mid eighties. Everyone worked. I asked about this arrangement, and they told me, with audible sadness in their voices, that they were the exception to the rule. Most younger members of the family were going to the city, leaving the tea growing to the older generation. When they died, they said, the tea farms usually closed or got sold to the conglomerates making crappy tea-in-a-bottle.

Early On a Sunday Morning

On Where Pianos Roam

Sometimes, I like to think about what my life will be like in a few years.  There are two extremes that I seem to dwell on more often than not.

In one extreme, I will be a hermit living in a very remote and secluded location, far away from the spoils of man.  Every day, I work in my little vegetable garden, and in the afternoons, I sit at my piano for hours on end playing my songs.  I take long quiet walks into the countryside and spend time drawing plants, animals, and flowers.  Books are devoured more than they are just read.  It is a calm existence.

In another extreme, I am travelling constantly performing shows or in whatever occupation/capacity I will inhabit by then.  Every new city is more vibrant than the last, and every person I meet has a name that I have to try to remember among hundreds already.  I try to eat some local dish in each geographic location without becoming a sizable bovine beast.  I stare out of airplane windows, car windows, and hotel windows endlessly, not really looking for anything but just absorbing the views.  I take note of local habits and sensibilities, all of which serve a stark contrast to my own nomadic livelihood.

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