Art and Discipline

I was meeting with some colleagues outside today, under the cover of a large paved pavilion, and at my feet was a stick.  I actually found it odd to find a stick there.  The rest of the pavilion appeared quiet and unoccupied and clean.  And by clean, I mean immaculate.  Stray sticks and stones dared not display themselves on the pristine grounds.  But there it was, on the shadowy pavement, my little stick, breaking the rules and inviting me to join in the fun.

A short stick
A short stick

At first I just nudged it with my foot, but then I began rolling it around under my foot – back and forth, back and forth.  I glanced down underneath the table to glimpse the object of my attention, and saw this.

Immediately I wanted to keep the stick, so I picked  it up and placed it on the table near me. But I didn’t understand what drew me to it.  Between contributions to the conversation I peaked at my new objet d’art and smiled.

We eventually went back inside and joined the larger group that comprised our cohort, and I placed my stick on the inside table next to me, peering at it every now and then.  Finally it was time to go home, so I put my stick in my backpack with the promise of seeing it agin later on in the evening so I could take a picture for a blog post.

And as soon as I viewed the picture I had taken, I realized why I was so drawn to the stick.  It reminded me of my clarinet.  At one point in my life, back when I was just about the age of my students or maybe a little older, I practiced my clarinet daily.  After high school I tapered off to only a few days per week until I finally stopped playing all together.

I haven’t picked up my clarinet in nearly 20 years; nevertheless, seeing one stick has returned me to the days of my youth when I used to be carefree enough to devote my energy to pursuing what I loved.

These days my daily habit is blogging and journaling, but unlike practicing my instrument, I don’t practice my craft of writing for the pure joy of creating beauty through oft-honed skill.  The result, however, I pray will be the same – fostering a love of art and discipline within myself.

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