Anyone following this Blog knows that I often paint Paradise in the colors and shapes of an Orff workshop. The buzz in the air, the swirl of motion, the euphonious sounds coming from voices, skins, woods and metals, the physical contact, laughter, serious quiet moments and more make it the heaven that’s more than good enough for me.
But truth be told, these workshops are often in drafty and echo-ey gyms with no windows and bad lighting, a table of snacks that might include donuts and those earth-killing tiny plastic water bottles and people bonded together through a very specific interest— music education. Still a lot of magic happens, but if I were given the omnipotent power to name the ideal Heaven on Earth, I’d have to make a few changes.
But this morning I went to the New Smyrna Beach Farmer’s Market and as I often feel, this is worthy of Dante’s and Bosch’s most vivid imagination as a model for earthly bliss. The folks that go there are a varied bunch, tied together by our common need for food, sustenance and sociability in the market place. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound, alongside the nuts, dried fruits, just-baked bread, cheeses, occasional meats and fish, herbs, spices, each with their tasty samples and convivial farmer giving you the biography of the mango she grew. There is a booth with folks spinning (spinning! as in the Rumpelstiltskin story!), a lone musician singing karaoke with himself and his pre-recorded back-up band, kids gathered with Easter baskets ready to storm the lawn strewn with goodies. The sun is shining, the temperature perfect and the breeze soothing rather than chilly. Not much to improve on the scene, except perhaps a bunch of Orff instruments in the corner available for jamming, a larger live band and some dancing, a moment when the whole market might pause and sing a song together.
When the news darkens our hearts, the image of poverty and war and relentless explosive violence keeps coming at us from the screens, let’s just unplug and stroll down to the local Farmer’s Market, sample a ripe tomato, talk to our neighbors, take in the sights and sounds and smells and tastes and remember how simple it is for us to get along here on this planet, to thrive, to savor, to celebrate the miracle of food growing and people gathering and life in all its abundance.
And then go to the Orff workshop. I have one next Saturday. Sign-up now!