Tuesday, November 24, 2015

DotMagis: Hearing Places

After a month of travel, a delightful mix of work and rest, I was anxious to get home. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to negotiating yet another airport, where each line earns you the privilege of waiting in another. As we approached check-in, we were waved off to wait with a half-dozen others. “Are you sure they sent us to the right line?” I asked my husband, as I watched people in the long queue next to us check their bags for Philly while we waited— unmoving —  behind a rope.  “The sign says Philadelphia,” he reassured me.

Suddenly a young woman appeared, and without any preamble, began to ask us questions in careful English.  “What did you see?” she asked me brightly.  It was a hard question to answer.  I had spent a number of days walking the northwest coast of Ireland, I’d seen the Atlantic stretching out before me, breath-taking cliffs, tumbled-down chapels, and sheep — lots of sheep.  I’d seen Gaudi’s magnificent Sagrada Familia, and Michaelangelo’s David.  I took a lot of pictures, but my most potent memories of this trip are as much about what I heard as what I saw.  Why don't we ask people who've been away, "what did you hear?"

The walk where it was so quiet, I could hear the sheep tearing at the grass.  The rocks rolling on a shore far below.  The bubbles breaking in my cappuccino.

The experience led to a short reflection on Ignatius' notion of the composition of place posted today at DotMagis (with a great graphic!).

The mystery of the lines was that they were funneling people off to let trainees practice.  Did we look patient?  Like teachers?  We each got a little gold star on our passports, regardless.

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