[Note: I used to write a lot until, well, law school. But, one year ago tonight, at the end of a long day, a moment happened in the law school that unleashed an intense desire to write about that particular moment. That impromptu essay opened the door in my heart that with time became “Starting to Look Up.” So, in honor of that moment, here is my essay from one year ago.]
The word exquisite doesn’t come to my mind very often.
It has been a long day, at the end of a long week. Our students are in final exams, and I feel about that weary, too. I made it to work around half past seven this morning and walked out around half past nine this evening. That isn’t normal, but it isn’t abnormal. Another long day.
But there were some great moments. I served on an important panel judging a Christmas cookie contest for our staff: public service at its most delicious. And tonight, I attended a swearing-in ceremony for our graduates who passed the bar exam. There may not be a happier occasion, and the celebratory hugs and high fives from such special people made my heart happy.
So it was a good, solid, long day.
But it came time to go home. I closed down my office, grabbed my work bags, and headed toward the exit with a weariness that comes with a fourteen-hour work day.
There was music as I walked toward the door.
The law school received a piano as a gift last year, and we have several talented pianists in our community who put it to good use, so this was not surprising. I noticed three first-year students standing on the second floor near the law school entrance, weary from a never-ending battle to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, still at school at half past nine on a Friday evening. They were listening to the music that filled the three-story building emanating from the back corner of the first floor.
I joined their group to listen, too.
I am embarrassed not to know piano tunes. This one was lively and reminded me of a Scott Joplin sort of song. But I don’t know. I do know that the young pianist was into it, and soon, we were too.
Two other law students came out of the library, pulled to the railing by the music.
And we just listened. We all stood quietly, mesmerized, weary, but captivated, and listening.
It was really just a moment. The impromptu performance couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of minutes, but there was a moment somewhere therein, somewhere before the song’s rousing conclusion and the surprising ovation from the six-person audience up in the balcony. It may not have made an impression on anyone else, but it is now well after ten o’clock, and although I am still tired, I had to write about this moment because I don’t want to forget it.
It was exquisite.
Some moments are worth the trouble of life. And the one tonight, when the intense and elegant music of an artist captivated a group of stranded travelers on a Friday evening, qualifies in my book.