Updated: Jan 28, 2020
The day dawned utterly serene this morning over Singapore. Being Sunday the building sites are silent leaving space in the ether for the haunting sound of the Koels and Yellow Birds. Over the rounded rumbling of the traffic Beethoven drifted in through my bedroom window, an unusual addition to the melody of day break.
Feeling the need for sand between my toes I headed for the beach. From my spot under the dappled shade of a large tree I lost myself in the comings and goings of the ships in the straits. Metallic behemoths that range the oceans of the world delivering their cargoes to far-off lands. Over the passage of time the same ships return, sometimes once a month, maybe longer, coming back each time with more memories lodged in their hulls.
In stark contrast to these enormous vessels are the junks, small and exotic; their shape unlocks a passage in my imagination to times gone past when ships were made from wood, relied on wind for forward motion and time passed at a pace much slower than now.
Which, of course, it didn’t. From our perspective in the modern world time just seems to have passed more slowly in the past. Leading a frenetic life with little or no time for ourselves easily leads to imbalance in body, mind and spirit which in turn leaves us open to the ravages of stress and un-wellness. Taking the time each day, even if just a minute or two, for quiet reflection is wonderfully therapeutic and relaxing; time to ponder the beauty of the world around us.
You may argue that it’s easy to find beauty in the world when you are sitting on the beach but what about in the midst of the city or on a crowded train? Well, I would challenge you that if you listen hard enough there will be birdsong echoing in the wind, even if only in your memory. There may be the reflection of the sun in the office window across the road lighting the darkness of the concrete canyon down which you stride, or if you raise your head from your newspaper you may receive the gift of a smile from the stranger sitting opposite you in the train.
First published 25 February 2007
Image © TJF Photographics 2007 All rights reserved