Many would agree that art is subjective, that it isn’t up to the crowd to determine what entraps your senses, causes you to feel a certain way, and pushes you to think outside the confines of your own mind. Hippocrates is to have said “Ars longa, vita brevis” which roughly translates to “life is short and the art is long.” It is taken to mean that life moves fast and one can’t learn all that there is with the time that they have. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t try.
Art has the power to change the world and bring vastly different people together. People that speak different languages, have different belief systems, come from all walks of life and cultures. Great art is blind to race, religion, creed, gender, or economic status. All art is – at least on some level – love.
In my mind I’m often taken back to my very first experience in a cigar lounge. The space had a life of its own and the story it told was a welcoming one. I could feel weight of past days enjoyed and the excitement for great experiences to come. The lounge was full of culture and ambiance. Dave Brubeck songs played softly in the background, loud enough to hear but not so loud you couldn’t hear each other speaking. Inviting leather couches and chairs were organized so as to encourage conversation, each one showing the clear signs of hours well spent – broken in, but not broken down.
The cigars themselves were each telling their own little tales. Blends, bands, colors, shapes and sizes all doing their best to stand out from the others. Cigars are art. They are a ritual that requires all the senses to enjoy and experience. The masters of this craft are often hidden and unknown, sometimes the only proof of their efforts being the very cigar I held in my hand.
The ritual of the cut and light was slow, methodical and calculated. It almost felt like cigar had to be honored and mistreating it would diminish the experience. What I took away from that first experience was personal and powerful. It’s safe to say that while the experience is very introspective, many doors for conversation were opened up to me from others in the lounge desiring the same thing as I.
People spoke without judgment and held no preconceived notions about me. I was one of them regardless of my level of experience or knowledge of cigars. I truly felt at home. I felt safe and able to be myself. Art has a way of doing that to people, allowing each one of us to connect regardless of differences.
Art doesn’t have to take a long time or be a certain price, it just has to make you feel something you can’t forget – cigars are art and art is love, so smoke what you enjoy and with those in whose company you feel fully free.