Tag Archives: rhythm

Of coincidence and meanderings

You know how, sometimes, the universe gets your attention with the same message over and over? I mean over and over and over, well beyond the point of calling it a coincidence. Let me explain.

Not once, not twice. Not every so often, not on this day but not the next;  every single day for the past several weeks. Any time of day, any direction, every single time I run an errand between Jeffersonville and Cambridge, just minutes away. Whatever vehicle happens to be ahead of me slows to somewhere between 20 and 40 miles an hour. The speed limit is 50. This does not happen on any other stretch of road. What are the odds?

And even if the odds were low, I cannot help but contemplate a possible metaphor about my current path. It is not about slowing down so much as it is about accepting that I am. The main reason for this, and I am clear about this, is that I no longer feel the competitive urges of earlier years. Incidentally, I think we often compete more with ourselves that with others.

The only sane thing to do behind a slow car, when the road meanders and there is no safe spot to pass, is to accept the current pace and not suspend enjoyment of the moment because of it. When you think about it, withholding joy in the moment, because the driver ahead is slow, makes no sense at all.

The creative mind is that meandering road with no safe spot to pass. It is not safe to pass because ideas come out of nowhere and a head-on collision with an idea can make you miss the point. Creativity demands distance, so we can see the landscape of the mind. If we rush into it, we miss the whole picture. All of life is an act of creation, and I have a hunch we all come to this conclusion at one point or another. It is not that we give up; rather, we give in.

Where am I going with this?

Precisely. Quite often, or perhaps inevitably, circumstances shape the path. I can trace everything I do today, my writing and my artwork, through one circumstance after another. In fact, I can trace all of it to a long string of closing doors and opening doors. We are designed for reacting and adapting, after all. This may be more fortunate than we realize. This circumstance hopping game shapes everything.

We mistakenly believe that we should be ahead of the game, ahead on the road, behind the car that’s speeding toward its destiny, instead of being “slowed down” by our own individual pace. A spot to pass and resume high speed is not the solution. Acceptance is the only solution.

And then there is silence… a topic for another time.


Madainn mhath! (madən va)… Good morning, in Gaelic. It is a gorgeous one and soon I will bring Mathias outside to sit on the porch and read for a while.

ps - 0727As he and I enjoyed our afternoon stroll, yesterday, I noticed a single bird sitting atop a barn roof. My initial thought was that this would make a great photograph, but while I enjoy such spontaneous captured moments, for some reason I enjoy the moment itself more and do not feel the urge to capture it.

Next, I thought it seems intriguing that we go around snapping photos of moments with our camera phones, but who ever snaps recordings of surrounding sounds?

You never see two people sitting at a table for coffee sharing their captured soundscapes with an expression of awe on their faces. We share photos online, but other than deliberately arranged musical pieces, we do not pay much attention to sound, unless it is clearly musical and accepted as pleasant.

As these thoughts filtered through my mind, while I stood in the middle of a field with the dog surrounded by the buzzing sounds of flying insects and the continuous melody of a nearby river, I wondered how come we do not even stop to capture these sounds, as if the impressions nature makes on our ears were not as mesmerizing as the impressions it makes on our eyes.

Meanwhile, on the road just outside the village, the clanging and banging sound of construction reverberated through the air, as it has every day for many months now. A large crew has set up camp there to build a roundabout. The noise they make contrasts with the sounds of nature, yet it has its own, fascinating melody and rhythm. We may reject this notion, thinking it is invasive instead, but this means we are indeed noticing it and deciding that it is offensive. Yet the rhythms, were they captured and isolated in single moments, would surely reveal a unique musical composition that has a color and richness of its own.

If someone came up with a sound editing application on smartphones, would we develop a new appreciation for every undulation of sound that reaches our eardrums? Would we suddenly discover new rhythms, listen and ear in a new way?

I am now reminded of a musical group that turns noise into music and reminds us to listen with new ears: Stomp.