That may seem like an oxymoron, for the very word "cultivating" assumes a certain level of premeditation. However, I have always been a planner and that's the way things go with me. Still, I am trying to welcome spontaneity these days, because, as my sister Hannah and I were discussing on Friday: spontaneity is the essence of real living.
And so it went: on Friday evening after work, I was stealing a few quiet moments on the front porch reading my book, having a drink, trying to decompress before the start of the weekend. Colin was somewhere with friends. Hannah and Isaac stopped by on their way to other things. We were chatting and such. When all of a sudden a very shiny Mercedes pulled in rather abruptly into the driveway of the apartment building across the street.
"Ooh," I said, "he's going to scrape bottom." (Every car that pulls into that drive scrapes bottom, as I've discovered sitting on this porch.) And sure enough, his shiny new car scraped bottom quite nicely. "Oh no! We all moaned." Soon after that another very nice shiny car pulled up to the drive, only this one was a mint-condition convertible from the 50s with pristine white-walled tires. He was about to pull in just as abruptly when we moaned, "No! Don't do it!" loud enough for him to hear. He slammed on the breaks and inched his way past the potholes relatively unscathed.
When the two men got out of their cars, they were looking over at us kind of funny. Questioning all the ruckus I suppose. "We just didn't want you to scrape bottom with that nice car," we explained from our perch on the porch. Turns out they were friends and the one in the antique car owns the apartment building there. So they were using the lot as free parking for a night out on the town. The older Mercedes gentleman pulled something from his pocket and started waving it towards us.
"I have two extra tickets to the Arturo Sandoval concert tonight at the Flynn and I'll sell them to you dirt cheap." (It was the opening night of the jazz festival and in my new not-plan-anything mode, we hadn't gotten tickets to any of the sure-to-be-amazing shows in town.) Hannah and I looked at each other, said, "Sorry Isaac," and then, "We'll take them!" to our new best friends across the street.
We quickly made the transaction in the middle of the street. Then ditched Isaac to run inside and freshen up. The show started in less than 30 minutes, but we were ready in 15. Hannah and I walked down to the Flynn giddy at the thought of our good luck. But getting to go to that show, we realized, was more than a spontaneous piece of luck . It was providence.
Even though I didn't know his name or music, I quickly discovered that Arturo Sandoval is a jazz trumpet icon from Cuba; he was a protege of Dizzy Gillespie way back when. This was going to be good!
As I watched and listened with awe to the width and breadth of his talent (he's also a renowned classical pianist) and the talent of his band members, I was thinking to myself, I don't think I've ever been in the presence of such greatness and so much talent and awesome movement. I was moved.
Sitting there in the dim lighting of the concert hall, I had the same sort of surreal feeling you get when you get off the airplane in another country, another language, another timeline. When a few hours before you were at home, drinking coffee, watching T.V. or whatever. It's exhilarating and unbelievably freeing.
An hour before I was on my porch waiting for the possibilities of the night to unfold. And that is how they unfolded: spontaneously and spectacularly.