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Like silent raindrops fell...

October 17, 2011

Last Friday, over breakfast, my wife shared with me an amusing and insightful story.

Seems a group of people were walking home late one night and came upon a fellow crawling around under a street lamp. Concerned, they stopped to offer assistance. When they asked what he was doing down on his hands and knees, he explained:

“I’m looking for my wallet.”

“Ahh, you’ve lost your wallet. Well, maybe we can help. What’s the furthest this way it could be, and what’s the furthest that way it could be?”

“It’s difficult to say. I really don’t know.”

“Well then, let’s retrace your steps tonight. Where did you come from?”

“I was at the bar about a kilometre that way.”

“Okay, where were you when you last saw your wallet?”

“At the bar.”

“So, why are you down on your hands and knees, crawling around here looking for your wallet?”

“Well… isn’t it obvious? This streetlamp is the only source of light between there and here.”

She told me this story in response to my daily rant about the general lack of due diligence witnessed in the marketplace. How apropos! People fly to the closest source of light, though that light may not even shine on the subject at hand.

There’s a hardware store just down the street. Why not take a walk and buy a flashlight? Then you can follow the entire trail for yourself, searching in places never touched by that solitary streetlamp. Better still, buy two flashlights and bring a friend. Two heads are better than one, and it breaks the sound of silence along the way.

I figure Paul Simon must have been thinking about this same due diligence conundrum when he wrote down these priceless words:

Hello darkness, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence


In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

'Neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night

And touched the sound of silence


And in the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people, maybe more

People talking without speaking

People hearing without listening

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence


"Fools", said I, "You do not know

Silence like a cancer grows

Hear my words that I might teach you

Take my arms that I might reach you"

But my words, like silent raindrops fell

And echoed

In the wells of silence


And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls"

And whispered in the sounds of silence

Timeless in its relevance… with every single word. Perfection met. Full stop.

Kevin Graham

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