This character has three meanings: music or musical instrument, to enjoy, and to like. Initially it was composed of the tree (木) at the bottom and the silk strings (絲) on top. And later the character in the center (白) was added. Some thinks the character looks like different types of drums and bells on a wooden table. Others think silk strings, wood, and a pick comes from an ancient Chinese zither. In any case the character for music-making-things, whether it is beat or string instruments, came to represent joy.
Another way of looking at the character is to see it as a tree with ripe fruits hanging from it.
I reflected on these two interpretations. Music and fruits, what do they have in common?
They both are gifts of life that we can enjoy!
As the end of the year is drawing near, I tried to remember and chew on the memories of the best moments of the year. One of them is when I was taking a leisurely walk with a friend in the countryside of Geneva. It was near my friend’s neighbourhood and she knew all the trees along the path, especially the ones that had edible fruits. We had so much fun picking a crab apple, blackberries and small grapes as we were walking and talking. The fruits were smaller than the ones from the shop, but I enjoyed them a lot more, not because of the taste or freshness even. I think it is because I was truly experiencing that the fruits are given to us by nature as gifts. (I almost said free gifts forgetting it is redundunt.)
Music works in the same way. How many times we were delighted unexpectedly by a familiar tune played by a street musician, from a radio or a record shop, or at outdoor concerts in the park.
As fruits and music, I believe joy is always available to us and we can be givers and receivers of this gift.