This morning on my way home I passed through Ferenciek station.  It’s just a shortcut across the main road, in and out.  I had just come from teaching a difficult session and my mind was on where I had been, fighting the urge to second-guess all my decisions and struggling to accept the inevitable learning curve when a new teacher in a new situation.

As I headed towards the stairs to leave Ferenciek, I became aware of music.  It was classical, sounded like a string quartet, and was surprisingly loud.  A quick glance showed me that it was a guy with a violin and an amplifier, playing an accompaniment to recorded music.

And it was beautiful.

I hesitated on the far stairs – my urge was to continue on my way.  But here I am in Budapest, this beautiful, contradictory city that I came to with the objective of living life as an adventure – not to grind work and rush home as if my schedule is all that matters.  This music was beautiful and unexpected.  I had just had a difficult morning.  I could stop and soothe my soul.

I walked closer and stood, listening and soaking in the sound, watching the motion of the bow and picking out the part the violinist was playing among the recorded quartet.  Every so often another passer-by would stop for a moment, or longer, and join our shared kinship of silent appreciation and serendipitous interruption to our schedule.  We stood, the other onlookers and I, dotted singly around the station in our shared but unique otherworlds to which the melody and harmony took us.  Some of us closed our eyes to soak in the beauty or let our mouths open slightly as if to taste what we heard.  Many of us smiled and relaxed.  The music would not let us go.  Every so often someone would pass through, drop some money in the violin case and move on, expressing tangible appreciation on behalf of the gathered, entranced audience.

The music would not let me go.

When I was finally released by the concluding notes, I finally went to drop some coins in the violin case.  The violinist saw me and smiled, said ‘koszonom’.  I clapped silently through my gloves and mouthed the word ‘beautiful’ – I could not bring myself to intrude my noise into the musical wonder still reverberating through my memory.  Then I left Ferenciek as he began playing his next piece, thoroughly refreshed in my spirit and aware I had experienced something so mundane and yet so special and precious.

Koszonom, Ferenciek Violinist.

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