Buttered-up Glances: Between 10,000 Things
The world is revealed
In quick glances,
There can be no completion.
Manic fingers dance on the piano keys, dazzling those who see. Through those actions, the air is disturbed, releasing an interpretation of Liszt through the hidden workings of a grand piano. The sounds reverberate throughout the space, through the audience’s bodies and onto the street, undulant sine-waves and crested trochoidals stretch out, felt but unseen, on and on, reaching into slow silences. What eyes witness, ears urge into imagining, in the tremendous gulf between seeing the performance and only hearing it. To play a song with passion is beyond language or notation, musical theory or talent. Fingers only dance on the keys when they stop thinking, that inscrutable moment when method gives way to gracefulness. Between the betweeens of the unseen, something else moves along with the fingers.
Do not let your mind stand still even when you are in repose, but do not let it speed up even when you are involved in quick actions. The mind should not be distracted by the body, nor the body distracted by the mind.
— Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
If light were to slow down, it would no longer be light. After Muybridge captured the horse’s four legs off the ground at once — settling the score the naked eye failed to perceive — the horse galloped on, with a seamless gracefulness unseen, even by the cameras. The ballerina dedicates her life to her craft, facing rejection and pain, her talent never quite moving her from within, until it does. Ten thousand hours are just a block of time without the engagement of the artist and her craft, a commitment that bleeds through the vicissitudes of the day, the writer writing even when the inky hand is whisking eggs, the ballerina telling a glissading story through her movements, even while she sleeps. Mind and body, dreams and wakefulness become indistinguishable from one another, not unlike the yolk from the egg-white when the clockwise course of passion whisks them into a graceful conglomeration of mastery, little bubbles and all.
There is a rhythm to everything. If you do not train in its rhythm it is difficult to succeed.
— Miyamoto Musashi
Just as every mind is a world unto itself, so the rhythm that moves that mind is just as distinct. There are no signposts showing the way when the way to that rhythm is always under one’s own feet. Ten thousand miles mean nothing when that distance is covered without the willful steps to attend it. A tuned guitar leaning against a wall will still resonate with the notes being played on the visiting banjo player, just as the nascent rhythm in the dancer is moved through the actions of her cat at play. Even the actual whisked eggs acquire the airborne molecules of the bacon cooking, even if those eggs are scrambled long after the bacon is gone. That ineffable and hidden between the betweens of gracefulness in the arts is the sudden burst of color in the blue sky when the sun begins to set and the formerly invisible ice crystals of the heights reveal themselves to be multitudinous in their color-craft, indigos no less dazzling than the peaches and sea-greens. Just like that sunset, the countless spaces and hours of gracefulness appear as if out of oblivion, a touch of magic with no time to explain away, before giving way to the grays of another latency, the nocturne dance of grace through rhythm.