The Tale of the Small Hole
Life is tough if you’re nothing but a small hole.
For big holes, sure, things aren’t quite so bad, sure, sure. At least bigger is better, as everyone knows. But for each small hole poked into the fabric of this world somewhere, there is almost nothing to do but to live in hollow boredom.
The worst of it was this, though: The Small Hole wasn’t even sure, totally sure, he was even a hole even. He was round. Sort of. He was empty inside. Kind of. But he sat among rows of black lines on a field of white. His best guess was that he came into being as a tiny hole in a sheet of paper. But he wasn’t sure, not totally sure, not sure at all.
The Small Hole had lived all his small vacant life with this terrible uncertainty. Big holes at least had some purpose anyway. They could let big things pass through them anyway, like a tunnel that is a pass-through for cars anyway. At least it was something to do with your day. Even some small holes could be useful sometimes, it seemed, as when a finger scratches an itchy leg through the pocket hole of old jeans. Even small holes had a purpose even, sometimes. Not a grand purpose, mind you. But amid the nothingness of small hole life, even small purposes were welcome.
So sat the Small Hole, day after day. Round and empty, sort of, kind of. Unable even to think of himself as a big nothing even, because he was only a small nothing after all. The Small Hole had no purpose and nothing to give at all.
Or so it seemed.
Until the day he overheard one voice uttering some very interesting words. (Yes, holes can understand whatever people say. Most recognize several languages as well as signing for the deaf.) The Small Hole heard one man’s voice talking, followed by very beautiful sounds. The same voice again, then more sounds of a beauty the Small Hole had never heard before. And then once more, the same man’s voice again, once more yes the same man’s voice, but now very loud, very bellowy now. This is when the man’s words got very interesting, if also very loud.
“You’re late!” the man’s voice bellowed. “You have the most important moment in this whole work – and you’re late! Play on the downbeat, as it is written!”
The Small Hole understood the words, of course, but he could not make sense of their true meaning. What was the bellowing man talking about? Soon enough, the Small Hole would learn.
Because now the voice of the bellowing man continued: “I can’t believe my ears! One note to play and you get it wrong! That cymbal crash is the climax of this great symphony by this great composer and you cannot be late! On the downbeat, Mr. Nada! It’s right here on your page! Let me show you! Let me mark your score so you can’t miss it again!”
What was the bellowing man saying? The Small Hole glanced quickly around now, excited. Because something was happening now. Yes, now the bellowing man was standing near him, drawing a circle in pencil now. A circle around … him! Around the Small Hole! The bellowing man was drawing a circle around the Small Hole, which of course meant the bellowing man had been talking about the Small Hole!
And now the Small Hole suddenly understood something he never had understood before. Something that made everything make sense at last. Because the Small Hole was not a hole at all after all, after all. He was a musical note. Sitting in the middle of a sheet of lined music paper, all alone. All alone – because he was so important.
“The most important moment in this whole work,” the bellowing man, who really was the orchestra conductor, had called the Small Hole. “The climax of this great symphony by this great composer,” the bellowing orchestra conductor man had added. Then the bellowing conductor had drawn that circle in pencil around him, around the Small Hole.
Yes, the Small Hole understood now for sure, for sure. He wasn’t a Small Hole. He was a Big Note. He was the Big Note that made the cymbals of the orchestra crash loudly together at just the right time at just the right place in the music for everyone in the audience to enjoy. For sure, the most important musical note in this great symphony by this great composer!
And the Big Note understood one thing more, for sure. He understood that this is how it goes sometimes, for sure, for sure. Because sometimes we are sitting just a little too close to the page to see everything, that’s all. Sometimes it all looks just too big all around us to recognize our real place among it all, that’s all.
Sometimes we have a more important purpose, much more important, than we think. Yes, this is what the Big Note understood at last. Except sometimes we just need someone to draw a circle around us, in pencil, to show us what we were missing all along.