Monday, July 06, 2009

Pristine Pings

That's what I heard as I was watching the Boston Symphony's 4th of July concert on the esplanade. It happened during their annual and traditional presentation of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (starting at 38 seconds), the end of which coincides with canon fire and the beginning of the fireworks display.

There was crescendo, frenzy, canon fire and there was build up. During the build up, the quickening, the ping from the triangle in the percussion section, could be heard. It was solitary, it was simple, it was just there, it helped to complete the rest of the world. It was expressing itself without fanfare and without attachment to how long it would last. It expressed itself without regard to whether anyone heard it or not. There was no self consciousness.

It's a great mystery, to me, how those notes come about when they come from a person. I've had moments when I have "spoken my truth" and on reflection they could be called pristine pings. Sometimes I remember them and sometimes I don't.

When I was out walking the other morning, a man came up to me and introduced himself and then thanked me for giving his son back to him. We talked back and forth for a while and then he said: "One thing always stood out during that conversation about my son. You said 'he was a good kid and he basically only needed a few wins' and that's how it turned out." I don't remember saying that, but he did. I guess that may be a ping that is expressed and has an impact. It took on a life of it's own.

I came across another ping when I read Ember's manifesto on her blog Kindred of the Quiet Way. She wrote on simplicity which she refers to as "Simplicity Testimony" The quote:

it's about choosing to live simply, according to one's own conscience & what feels manageable at the moment, stepping aside from consumer lifestyle to focus instead on what is non-competitive, natural & free. In choosing an occupation, asking ‘what did I come here to do?’ – and by all means travelling most speedily towards that place. It's about avoiding debt & high-maintenance, complex lifestyles that make it difficult to change course when life offers challenges & opportunities: choosing (in one's home, leisure activities, clothing, possessions & occupation) what is simple, plain, quiet, humble & modest, avoiding whatever brags or intimidates or makes others feel jealous or inadequate or ashamed. Understanding that we live in troubled times, it's about fashioning a life accordingly, ensuring that one is as free, as flexible, as prepared & as easy to satisfy as possible; so that when hardship & scarcity come to us, we already understand how to live frugally & simply & walk lightly, passing through turbulence with our light held steady.

That is pristine. That ping resonates in me. Maybe that's the purpose of a "ping," to offer those who would quiet down, those who are not rushing, those who are open to new and free information available in the environment, an opportunity to resonate. And with that resonance, they can take in new energy or reconfirm what they already have known, and then to take their opportunity to make their own notes.


Ember said...

Cool! I love the idea of being a pristine ping - when I was at school the only musical instrument I could be trusted to play was the triangle.
I played it well, but not always at the right moment or according to the requirements of the teacher, the other people or the piece.
Not much has changed! :0D

Paul said...

Resonance requires one to be in a teachable moment to hear and respond to the ping. I suspect I hear many pings as noise but, from experience, I believe I can cultivate a openness or anticipation that will enable me to be more receptive.

Malcolm said...

It's far too easy, with all the more flamboyant distractions, to miss that triangle's ping.