But when I make the effort, invariably I am less tired at the conclusion of an evening’s cultural presentation than I was at the beginning. The events of the past couple of weeks have offered me just such restoration.
We attended the Orchestra of Southern Utah’s concert where I was filled with the surpassing beauty of Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme of Paganini.” Not only does that romantic music swell the heart, it was being produced by people I know and love, people who gave of their time and talents to no end other than to make the composer’s genius accessible for me. I went home grateful and nourished.
A few nights later, I spent 90 minutes with people whose intelligence and insights I greatly admire. The occasion was the latest gathering of the Cedar City Arts Council’s Literary Group. (I’m telling you, you readers out there who don’t join us are missing out!) I was tired and nervous that the chosen book, Picking Cotton, wouldn't provide sufficient material for discussion. When I said so, a well-read woman of great literary experience and ability to voice her opinions said, “Are you kidding? I could talk about this for days.” I said, “Go ahead”, and we were off. I came home with new ideas about social justice and injustice, compassion for those in our society who are continually unfairly treated, amazement at the generosity of a forgiving heart. Was that nurturing? You can imagine how much so.
I got a smile in my heart as I participated in the Southern Utah String Festival, a gathering of students and teachers that began 34 years ago. At 8 a.m. Saturday morning, I watched darling little girls and earnest young boys unpack and tune their instruments to play for guest and local judges. There were 218 entries from as far away as Mesquite; they filled four rooms from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Playing for some of those young students made the 8 a.m. hour a joy, a beautiful way to begin my day.
Two days later I went to the opera Die Fledermaus as presented by students from SUU. Was I too tired to go at the end of a long Monday? I thought maybe so, but what if I had missed it?! Missed that beautiful Strauss music sung by students I love in beautiful costume and voice! I chatted and hummed all the way home, energized by the nurturing power of musical genius and performers to give it life. Moral: don’t ever be too tired.