The Spaces Between, photo: Kimberly Barber, 2020

This week I’ve been pondering the spaces between. We tend to focus on the concrete, tangible stuff. But what about what lies in the openings on either side? In music, we have silences, or rests. These moments of repose or reflection are not merely mechanical (an opportunity to take a breath, for example). They hold emotion, thought, promise. Many a great performance is defined not by the quality of the sung or played note, but by the profound question posed by the artist in the silence before the note.

I’ll never forget a performance in which I heard the divine Mirella Freni late in her career, singing the role of Puccini’s Mimi–one of her defining portrayals. There was a moment where the orchestra was seemingly suspended in some timeless place, as she breathed expansively before singing the glorious “il primo sole dell’Aprile…”. It was so magical that tears came to my eyes and cemented forever her profound artistry for me. It was the way she filled the empty space with her thought and feeling. I FELT IT.

So often we are in a rush to produce something. To achieve. To make something “worthwhile”. But the magic happens in the spaces between. The moments where we pause and feel the weight (and deliciousness) of the choice before us. Because in those spaces, anything is possible.