Experiencing New Things

I am always a little amazed and delighted when I discover something that I didn’t even know existed. The older I become, the more delighted I seem to be. For example, this week I’ve been having a vacation at home. Basically that means playing the tourist in the city where I live, going to new restaurants and generally wandering around. Someone recommended a new movie called “Across the Universe”—a musical about the 1960s written round the music of the Beatles. I never heard of the director, Judy Taymor, and all I can say is WOW!! The movie was a masterpiece. I can’t begin to fathom the mind of its writers and creators and Ms. Taymor is now at the top of my list of creative artists not to be missed.

I remember discovering a couple of years ago that there is a whole community of people who are playing a game with GPS navigation devices. I think the game is called “geocaching”. In the game, people hide stuff in interesting, out of the way places and then put the GPS coordinates on the Internet. Other people try to find the stuff and replace it with something else. It is a kind of never-ending treasure hunt and millions of people are into it. I haven’t played the game, but what was fun was discovering that the game even existed. I’d heard about games like “Dungeons and Dragons” but this one was entirely new to me.

I suppose that if everyone knew about these ‘finds’ then they wouldn’t be rare and unusual. Thank goodness they exist, however, as they add a bit of ‘spice’ to life. We can never say we’ve done it all, or for that matter, even know all there is to do. This not only keeps us having an open mind and continuing to learn, but also can keep us humble
in appreciation of the fact that, no matter how worldly we think we are, there are always new games and productions and activities being created.

The biggest delight this week was some friends invited us to a ‘musical’ event called “Umoja: The Spirit of Togetherness”. This stage production has apparently been around for a few years. It is a historical and cultural sampling of African music and dance presented by  a troupe of South African youth from their equivalent of our ‘inner cities’.

Words cannot describe the experience. I think I was someplace between awe and wanting to get up and dance myself throughout the entire production. It was spectacular and one of my most powerful musical experiences. The fact that I had never heard of the group, had not been exposed to African music, and came into the theater with an attitude that it was mostly just drumming and sounded more or less all the same just illuminates my ignorance on the one hand, while reminding me of the richness and diversity of human beings on the other.

Thanks, Umoja, for reminding me to stop, slow down and listen—and to learn that some of the most delightful things in life are in front of me and that they are often found in the realm of what I don’t know I don’t know.

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