Michael Spyres greets friends prior to performing song from "Pagliacci" and another song at Tie & Timber Brewing Co. to promote the upcoming performance of "Pagliacci." His wife, Tara, to his left, looks on. (Photo by Dean Curtis)

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Correction: The original version of this story misspelled the last name of Eric Spyres.

Thursday morning was one where I felt at least my age as I shuffled along the trail, alone in darkness and thought, when I saw movement and then a deer, high and weightless, bounding over the wide path before me.

It was beautiful.

That moment reminded me of Sunday evening when I walked into Tie & Timber and for the first time heard Michael Spyres — tenor, international opera star and son of the Ozarks — sing.

It also was beautiful.

I should inform you that of the many things I know little about, opera is one.

I have been to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls and I've been in Paris on Bastille Day, which is also the day of my birth. But I've never been to an opera.

Freelance writer Paul Cecchini, former editor of the newspaper in Mansfield, where Spyres grew up, wrote about the singer for the Hauxeda.

Michael Spyres performs a song from “Pagliacci” and another song at Tie & Timber Brewing Co. to promote the upcoming performance of “Pagliacci.” (Photo by Dean Curtis)

Spyres lives in the Ozarks but spends most of the year singing in Europe. He is in the opera “Pagliacci” at 7:30 p.m. March 25 and 26 at the Gillioz Theatre. He has the role of Canio.

On Sunday, I bought my dinner across the street from Tie & Timber and then settled at a table around the corner and a good distance from where Spyres would stand as he sang a few songs.

It had been a warm, sunny day that carried assurance spring was at hand.

He sang; I have never heard a voice like it.

It carried, was full and as pleasing as Coltrane on tenor saxophone.

If I had not known Spyres was an international opera star, I more than likely would have embarrassed myself by shouting to nearby strangers: “That guy could be an international opera star!”

And they no doubt would have said something like, “That is Michael Spyres, one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation.”

People actually do say that. I now understand why.

Perhaps it made me think about beauty

Michael Spyres performs a song from “Pagliacci” and another song at Tie & Timber Brewing Co. to promote the upcoming performance of “Pagliacci.” (Photo by Dean Curtis)

I was introduced to Spyres and we chatted briefly. His roots remain here in the Ozarks. He wants this weekend's opera to succeed and the Ozarks Lyric Opera to flourish. He is the Ozarks Lyric Opera's artistic director.

His parents were present, as were his wife, Tara, who also sings opera and is in “Pagliacci,” and their children.

Eric Spyres, Michael's father, told me this of his son, “He's not bad for a tenor.”

I decided Sunday that I want to hear more and I will on Saturday night when I attend my first opera, “Pagliacci.”

Perhaps I was already thinking about writing a column about Spyres singing at Tie & Timber when I saw the deer this morning.

Or maybe the deer made me think about what is beautiful, at least to me.

I think beauty often happens in a moment.

When I experience something beautiful it immediately evokes gratitude. I am stunned by how fortunate I am.

A deer suspended in physical grace.

My sudden realization in the middle of laughter that there is also so much love.

As well as an unforgettable voice filling a Cherry Street bar on winter's final day.

This is Pokin Around column No. 24

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Hauxeda. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@hauxeda.com. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin