A column by local journalist Harriet P. Gross offers inspiration for Healthy Survivors as 2013 draws to a close.
A longtime cancer survivor, Gross ponders what she will do with the coming year, as she manages a variety of health challenges. A friend sends her a story:
The great violinisht Itzhak Perlman once made his way laboriously onto New York's Lincoln Center stage, with crutches assisting his polio-stunted legs, and began soloing in a concerto. Almost immediately, one of the strings on his instrument snapped. The conductor stopped the orchestra.... Would...[Perlman] request a new string and make the repair himself? Or would he ask for someone to bring him another violin? Perlman sat quietly for a few moments with his eyes closed, and then -- most surprisingly -- signaled the conductor to begin again.
He resumed playing as if nothing had happened, flawlessly executing the entire concerto on his violin's three remaining strings, transposing and reconfiguring the music as he went along.
When the piece ended, there was an awesome silence in the hall before the audience collectively rose to its feet, applauding and cheering. Perlman just smiled, raised his bow to quiet the crowd, and softly said, "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."
The message of that urban legend moves me to wish you the courage, patience and fortitude needed to get good care and live as fully as possible -- to create music -- in 2014.