When, on an autumn evening, with closed eyes

As I finished dinner, I went up to my room to begin my work on tomorrow's lesson. Perhaps it's the fact that it gets so dark so early now, but the entire neighborhood felt so quiet, almost lonely. As I entered the room, and began fumbling for the light, I could hear the muted sounds of a trumpet. Since I live next door to a middle school, at first I believed it must have been a kid in band practicing, or a mariachi band playing for a party. As I listened some more to the muffled sounds, I knew the player was too good to be a middle school kid. Also, it was far too late in the evening for some kid to still be hanging out on campus.

I went to the bathroom window, opened it, and pressed my ear against the screen. I could easily hear someone playing a sad, slow trumpet in the middle of the field. The echoes against the walls of the school made the song sound so melancholy and beautiful. I went back downstairs and outside to the backyard, under the pretense of letting the dog out. Once downstairs, the sound did not echo as well and I went back upstairs.

I went out on the balcony to hear the trumpet player. I'm not sure why, but it was the most beautiful thing in the entire world. A single person, standing in the middle of a field, in the middle of the night, creating such pretty noise. The sounds of the city made such a lovely accompaniment: the barking dogs (not just mine), the cars zooming by, the sirens off in the distance, the white noise of the jet engines as they headed to LAX.

As I listened, I went from feeling like a privileged audience of one to feeling like an intruder. Here I was, hidden by the shadows of the house, listening to this person perform such an intimate act. I felt like I had stumbled upon something I was not supposed to be aware of. Still, the notes carried by the evening air fell upon my ears, and I felt a joy usually reserved for the final movement of Beethoven's 9th, the feel of grass in my feet or the sun on my face, or a cozy bed with the dog.

Thanks, whoever you are, for reminding me that the world is still a beautiful, wonderful, awesome place.