One morning, some weeks ago, when I was on my way to the bus station to go to work, I noticed a sound as I walked past a house on my regular route.
There was nothing very special about this morning – it was just like any other – and most people would say there’s nothing special or peculiar about the sound I heard, but, even in my half-awake state, rushing to work, this simple sound struck me as something profoundly meaningful.
Usually the streets are quiet and peaceful early in the morning (it’s usually just after 7am when I leave the house) and there’s not much to hear other than the usual sounds of morning traffic, so I suppose, in a sense, it’s not surprising that this sound caught my attention.
I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, in case the reveal is not equal to the build up. The sound, simple and commonplace, that brought on a blossoming of wondrous thought, was that of cutlery on crockery – maybe a knife on a plate, or a spoon in a bowl (although for some reason it sounded more like a plate than a bowl).
Immediately, of course, one might think that it’s just someone finishing breakfast, or preparing lunch for the day. Maybe they were putting dishes in the sink, or only just getting them out of the cupboard. These thoughts went through my mind too.
But as I continued on my way, the sound lingered, and my thoughts expanded. There is more meaning to the sound than a simple action. As I walked, I thought, and I realised that this sound also indicates:
I have eaten
I am eating
I am preparing to eat
I have the means to eat
And somehow, reflecting on this as I made my way to work that day, I felt humbled and grateful. I did not feel as if my problems and worries were nothing, but I felt that they were bearable.
Such a simple sound – commonplace and perhaps often overlooked – became, in a moment’s thought, something beautiful and significant.