Christmas Countdown 2009: No. 7. Peace by George Winston

The snowfall we are receiving is quite timely, as George Winston’s Peace captures the beauty and absolute solitude of a newfallen snow.

Whenever I try to explain George Winston’s music to friends who have never heard him play, I begin by describing the basic idea that a quarter note is made up of many smaller notes. Most musicians perfect the art of playing those smaller notes quickly, using countless eighth and sixteenth notes to tell a story in music. Winston does just the opposite. He uses the full space of a quarter note to play that sixteenth note with a surgeon’s precision — not for the sake of playing that particular note, but for the emphasis of the silence that falls before and after it within that quarter note.

Hard to explain. I guess to put it as plainly as I can, George Winston does more with space than he does with actual notes. The silence that falls within the span of a single note is as important as the note he is playing.

On countless occasions have I turned to George Winston for that patience, that solitude, that gift of finding serenity in the throes of an exceptionally hectic day. Those notes of peace are there, always, to be captured, held, savored for their powerful strength that is bigger than any event in which you find yourself in.

To me, there is no time more essential to remember this than during the holiday season.

Coming home from school each day, I am now faced with fast-paced drivers who are taking life-threatening risks, just to save a minute or two on their commute. They have no care for the others whom they put at risk, not to mention themselves.

The same is true for that lovely shopping experience here in good ol’ Bal’more. Last night we gave ourselves the simple task of finding some ice cream for the kids. Shoppers at both grocery stores we went to were moving their carts like the same drivers on the beltway — careless, disrespectful, and with the added death-glare for slowing them down by merely existing.

The good news is that they, too, have the same moments we do. Even they, the too-busy-to-care crowd, have the chance to find peace in their hearts, their minds, their lives and make their holiday experience (not to mention for others as well) immeasurably more pleasurable.

Take a few moments to listen to this song. Let the peace fill your heart before you go into the day. Let it be a reminder to you that there is always the possibility to capture that serenity, even if it is one-sixteenth second at a time!

One thought on “Christmas Countdown 2009: No. 7. Peace by George Winston

  1. ok… you know how i feel about george winston… absolutely LOVE and one of the best musicians ever in his own right. You spoke of his techniques and effects of his music I think of the emotions his music evokes. Like now, snow falling and listening to the link you provided… it is calming and so peaceful but it still makes me tear up… there is a sadness to the music… a lonliness to the sound… then again, I look outside… the snow coming down, the undisturbed areas where no man or animal has yet walked and everything is peaceful with the world. I just want to know, why cant we as humans, brothers and sisters, be peaceful to one another like at the busy grocery store, or when trying to grab the closest spot on the parking lot etc…. those random acts of kindness… why cant we be like the soldiers of WWII -call a truce for just 24 hrs– sing silent night where we are all equals? No violence, no hatred, no pain, no troubles: just love and at minimum, peace among one another. Is that too much to ask ?


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