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Fragile Beauty, No. 6: Take Your Time and Smell the Coffee

Having recently sprained my ankle coming off a bus, I have been forced to slow down and be more observant of my surroundings. Of course, as I became able to walk again, my pace has picked up and it seems as though things are going back to their normal state. So today as I was walking home from the studio and thinking about what I might write about for this months blog posting, I passed by a food cart and the smell of freshly made coffee made me stop in my tracks and I took a moment to take in the smell of that coffee and as I looked up I became aware of this incredibly clear blue sky on this cold, brisk day in New York.  As I looked all around me, it was a really beautiful moment.

We live in a time where everything is moving at such a fast pace, I feel as though we are missing so much of what is right in front of us. I got to thinking how I catch myself reading something from the New York Times and as I am about a third of the way through, I tend to start skimming the rest of the article for key words that might say to read that paragraph or this one until I find myself at the end not really sure what I just read. I have heard that most people today do not even read news articles, but instead use their news feeds on their phones to just skim the headlines. I did read recently that something as popular as ESPN's Sportscenter is starting to lose viewers because there are now apps available that will give you the highlight of any game you are looking for immediately following the action that just occurred. There is no reason to either stay up late or to get up early to catch the highlights of the previous nights games. It seems like we are living in a world where to be delayed in anything is unacceptable.

One thing I have made an effort to do recently is to limit my time on social media to only once a day. The one thing I do want to take the time for in this once a day check is to spend that time listening to posts that my friends place on line of their music. All too often, like when I am reading the paper, I will start to listen, maybe move it forward and then stop, give it a Like and move on. This is a practice I want to stop. The one great thing (maybe the only thing) about social media is the ability to stay in touch, even in a small way, with friends you no longer see on a daily basis. Many of these friends are fabulous musicians and to hear their music not only brings back tremendous memories, but incredible pride that I was once part of their community and I hope that they feel the same when listing to my music as well. 

I am currently working on some new compositions where one of the ideas is to be more in the moment. This feeling of being right here, right now. I want to return to that slower pace I had with my sprained ankle and take time to be more observant. To use my senses to see, hear, touch and taste what is abundantly present all around me. To take it all in as I walk, sit, play music, read, listen, work out, whatever I am doing as part of my existence in this moment and that means celebrating the successes of my friends and colleagues whether through the arts or through their achievements or that of their family. I am looking to be more present for myself and for those close and maybe not so close. 

Thanks for reading and for being a part of my life. I think I'm going to take a moment and make some coffee and just take in that aroma and taste right here, right now.

Bill Stevens Artist, Composer, Educator


  • November 3, 2019
    Tomi Jazz, New York, NY
  • November 6, 2019
    Shadmoor, New York, NY
  • November 24, 2019
    The Shadmoor, New York, NY

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