You see a diamond. So perfect and pure, it reflects and refracts light in infinite directions that constantly shift with every slight movement. Colorless, it is indeed the picture of purity, of clarity, of order.

What happens when that diamond, in the process of its formation under high heat and pressure, is exposed to an impurity? The diamond is contaminated, the clarity is gone…and the crystal bursts with color. For, the Hope diamond itself, what the world has long called the most pristine diamond of all, was the product of an imperfection, a mineral deposit that transformed the once colorless gem into one of great depth and pigment.

It’s a great parallel to life, I think. Innocence is one thing, but wisdom only truly comes from experience; from little bits of imperfection here and there that add up to make you a more beautiful gem than you could’ve imagined– which is why I don’t yet claim to be at all wise; I’ve barely lived yet.

But these thoughts really did move me. Thinking that impurities can bring about even more beauty in a diamond than it already has gives me hope for the change in a corrupted spirit. Maybe the corruption can bring about change that will inevitably bring more wisdom than first was even conceived.

And, reading a book on Norse mythology recently, such thoughts were amplified in my mind. For it had said that, symbolically, the mind was air, and the spirit, smoke. Just think, the pristine air all on its own would have no essence without the smoke of the spirit.

I also remember that once, during my band trip to Indianapolis this year, the well-known conductor who was in charge of our clinic called my final note that hung in the air as the song came to a close– that single tone that sprung from the euphonium– the smoke that lingered after the flame of the song* had gone out.

It’s a pretty cool thing to think about.

*If you’re curious, the song we’d been playing was called Rest, by Frank Ticheli


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