Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4

About a decade ago, I happened to spend one month in spring in Boston attending an English language program. I home-stayed in the northern suburb of the bustling city and commuted every day to the city centre to attend the lessons. After the classes, I would pick a place to spend my afternoon exploring the city and studying at the same time. Among the several places I often headed to was the Harvard Square. There was a very spacious Starbucks right at the exit of the subway station, and I would often spend my whole afternoon studying for my English exam there. However, not every day was smooth. There were days when I felt so gloomy and depressed that I just couldn’t be contained in the routine. On such a day, I would break my regular routine and do something different. Sometimes, it meant to take a long walk in a historical neighbourhood, and other times, it meant to explore some shops on the streets. One day, I was again under the weather. When I arrived at the Harvard Square, I didn’t feel at all like going to the Starbucks. So, I decided to go to the University Bookstore instead. This bookshop was very large with multiple floors and had all kinds of books from children’s books to the popular nonfictions and academic books. After immersing myself in the children’s books’ section in the basement for about an hour, I emerged from the basement onto the ground floor feeling slightly better. When I looked up, I saw a stylish open coffee shop. Since I wasn’t going to the Starbucks anyway, I decided to spend the remainder of my afternoon in the coffee shop. I treated myself with a coffee and a cake at a small round table, and opened my textbook to start working on one of the composition exercises. Just then, I heard a familiar melody from the bookshop’s BGM. It was The Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 by Johann Sebastian Bach. As I listened to the light opening sound of the baroque flutes, followed by the lively sound of the violins and the beats of the harpsichord and the bases, something shifted deep inside my body. What I felt in that moment was the life force. It was as if the music had called forward something that had long been lost inside of me. In that moment, I felt my presence seen and heard, and the weights on my shoulders had been lifted. Tears streamed down my face, and I listened to the rest of the music piece like a precious medicine. That evening, as I left the bookshop and headed to the subway station, my heart was filled with peace and a quiet sense of joy that I hadn’t felt in a while. Even though there were many more gloomy days to come, that little moment of sunshine at the bookshop always remained a powerful reminder of the light I hold inside of me.