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Be sure to smell those May flowers

By Staff | May 5, 2008

Living the busy life of an editor for many years, I always think about that old adage about taking the time to stop and smell the flowers. I wonder whether I actually do enough flower smelling, and sometimes feel a little twinge of guilt if I think I don’t.

So far this spring there haven’t been many flowers to sniff, but that’s another problem. With all of the rain we had in April, May flowers are sure to show up sometime.

Of course, it isn’t actually flower smelling that the old saw is talking about. It’s telling us to stop and enjoy the beautiful things in life once in a while.

The Blue Earth Area Concert Association had their annual banquet last Monday to wrap up last season and to kick off the sale of tickets for this season. The speaker for the evening was David Folin from the Allied Concerts company, the organization that books concerts for the local group.

Folin told an interesting story — a variation of sorts of this “stop and smell the flowers” theme.

It seems the Washington Post hired a famous violinist who charges more than $50,000 per performance. They had the musician dress in regular street clothes, and placed him at the top of the stairs in the busiest subway intersection in the city. There he played his $3 million Stradivarius violin for 45 minutes.

Newspaper reporters watched the scene and wrote about it later.

Over 1,100 people passed by him in those 45 minutes. Guess how many stopped, for a minimum of one minute to listen to him play.

Only 24.

A few stopped for a few seconds, and some put dollars or coins into his open violin case as they walked by. He made just over $32.

Only two people watched for a considerable length of time, and one of those actually recognized him because she had been at his concert previously, spending more than $75 on the ticket. She couldn’t believe he was standing there performing for free.

She also could not believe that no one was stopping long enough to enjoy the music.

When the newspaper reporters asked people why they didn’t stop, they all had the same answer — No time and in a hurry to get somewhere else.

No time to smell the roses.

Folin’s point was that Blue Earth Area folks need to take the time to enjoy some finer things, such as the concerts that the concert association is putting on each year. The further point is that we need to take the time to enjoy many of the things (events and people) around us.

Retired Reverend Vic Vriesen had a slightly different angle on this message at last week’s Kiwanis Club meeting in Blue Earth. He said we need to visit with people around us, to find out their story. He talked about taking time to touch people’s lives by spending time with them and helping them when we can.

Another noble thought.

So this week I took a little time and went out to the new Steinberg Nature Park on the east edge of Blue Earth and walked the nature trail. There weren’t any wildflowers in bloom yet, but I have been told they’re there.

Next time I’ll stop and see if they are in bloom and give them a sniff.

My guess is that when Vera Steinberg donated the land and wanted it turned into a park, that is precisely what she had in mind. A place to walk around and enjoy a bit of nature; flowers, birds, butterflies and the woods and river.

A place to stop and smell the flowers.