The Friday File: The Serenity of Silent Music

Music Books

Yesterday on the train began like most trips during rush hour; noisy, crowded, music blaring, “inside voices” on phones not a reality, only a dream on my part.  You get the picture I’m sure.

music noise 2

As I made my way from train stop to train stop, eventually things became more tolerable, as a good portion of the loud-voiced passengers had removed their annoyances a few stops earlier.

A seat became vacant across from me, which was quickly filled by a young man, slight in stature, carrying a stack of ‘something’; this was all I initially noticed, not paying too much attention, really.

And then, as I sat there, looking around in a rather bored gaze, I realized something quite remarkable.  Well, to me it was certainly remarkable.

The young man across from me had a quiet energy; the stack of ‘something’ he now had placed on his lap was actually a stack of books!! Books!! Of all things, books!!! And not just any grouping of books; these were books about music! I noticed one (reading book titles upside-down is most definitely not my forte) was about the oboe; another was clarinet music.  As he gently shuffled from book to book, I could not help but see his thin and nimble fingers meandering along the pages, seemingly ‘playing musical notes’, as it were.

reading clipartHe was also wearing headphones.  I was struck as to how quiet they were; this is something rather interesting in the train riding culture, as normally we are all privy to the blasting bass sounds of goodness knows what artist screaming from the earphones of many passengers.

As I continued to discreetly observe this young man, so quiet and calm in his gentle disposition, it made me frightfully aware of where we have been, and where we are now.  In other words, the young man was quiet, reading books, keeping to himself, not yelling as loud as his vocal chords could stretch while having ‘private’ cell phone conversations.  He wasn’t scrolling on a tiny screen, or playing, mind-numbing ‘games’.  He was savoring his train trip with music and introspection.  I felt at that moment as if I had stepped back in time.  He was wearing headphones, so I cannot say it was decades back in time.  But it felt different.  It felt as if he hadn’t joined his cohorts in the age of sound agitation.

As he gathered his things to disembark the train, his head turned long enough for me to notice a ‘sticker’ of sorts, on his left headphone:  “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” was the greeting.

You Are Beautiful

You certainly are, young, music man; you certainly are just that.

  42 comments for “The Friday File: The Serenity of Silent Music

  1. January 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    That brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazing how a moment, or a single event, can move us so deeply. Have an amazing day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Well my dear I cannot tell you how you just made my entire week!! Thank you so much! I completely concur; this was such an extraordinary ‘ordinary’ moment. I am sure this young man has no idea how it moved me so deeply. I think it is a good lesson for all of us to know how we can have an impact on others without being the wiser. Thank you and I hope you have an amazing day, too! Cher xo

      Liked by 2 people

      • January 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        Cher, I couldn’t agree more; often it is the simple gestures we make in life have impact. There is a bench on a trail not too far from me, and on it is written, sit here beautiful…and of the few occasions I’ve had to sit there, it always moves me, and that person will never know how meaningful it is to me. xo

        Liked by 2 people

      • January 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

        What a lovely, lovely gesture on that bench!! That is precisely what I mean! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Super reminders to be kind, share positive energy, and know its ripple will far surpass our knowledge of it. Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  2. January 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Ah, you are going to enjoy my next story about music in my life! Your “Music Books” pic is delightful. Thanks for sharing this experience on the train.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you, James! And I am looking forward to reading your next story!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. January 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    An amazing story and yes a rare site. I remember riding the sky train which is an above ground subway and all those memories came back of the loudness of it all. Beautiful sticker the man had and did you say that to yourself, “You are beautiful. “

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 15, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      It really is, isn’t it? *LOL* I do apologize for bringing the loud memories back, my dear!! Why no, I hadn’t given it a thought! I was thinking about the young man and how wise beyond his years he is. I don’t think he could have been more than 16 or so. Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    What a fantastic experience, thanks for telling us about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Why thank you, Hilary! It was such a wonderful experience! Cher xo


  5. January 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    How wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you my dear fellow Chicagoan!! Cher xo


  6. jakesprinter
    January 15, 2016 at 8:38 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  7. January 16, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Nice for you to get such a beautiful experience Cher 😀
    This bring hope for the future, that not all are so noisy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Irene! I agree; hoping for a lot more book readers and quiet headphones on the train! 😉 Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. January 16, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    How refreshing to see someone reading a book; albeit a stack of books, about music ! I love the experience of buying a new book. Fresh crispy starched glossy paper, exquisitely positioned with photographs (if its a picture book!) and all bound together to grab & go. No need to worry about charging it, or running out of power to run it! How blissful! There is nothing like the smell of a new book, aaaahhhh, with a good cup of tea, it can take you anywhere, anytime! Long live the Book!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      I agree my dearie! Your description is brilliant!! Thank you and yes, Long Live The Book!!!! Cher xo


  9. January 16, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Now that is one sweet moment. Wish I’d been there… and 30 years younger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      *LOL* It was incredibly refreshing, I must say, Val! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. January 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    This is lovely, Cher 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 16, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Helen!! It was so nice to see this dear young man with his soulful energy! Cher xo


  11. January 17, 2016 at 7:24 am

    What a lovely experience, Cher. I love peace and quiet, loud music in stores or yapping out of microphones in public places really frazzles me. And to be reading books! I LOVE books, I can still smell the library I visited with my mum as a kid, as a teenager and as an adult. And whenever we move – as we do so often – we cart boxes of books around with us and when I unpack it’s like meeting good, well-known friends again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Ah, a woman after my own heart! I too love books! I absolutely love how you describe your library visits! Yes, I am afraid with ‘progress’ we’ve actually went backwards in so many ways, Mo! Thank you for your lovely words as always!!! And yes, books are like well-know friends! That should be on a poster! Say, you are a wonderful artist; what do you think? Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 17, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        Thank you for your comment about my being an artist, I still hug myself with glee when people like you make nice compliments as I spent so long thinking I had no creative ability whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

      • January 17, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        You are exceptionally talented, my dear Mo! In fact, I am in awe of your work. I have literally no artist talent whatsoever. Ah, that’s where I leave it up to artists like yourself to fill the world with visual delight!! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  12. RMW
    January 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Aaahhhh, silence on public transportation, wouldn’t that be lovely? I really do not understand how anybody could be comfortable turning their headphones or earbuds up so LOUD that everybody else can hear their noise… but then I guess their hearing loss is such that they need the volume. Enjoyed this post… not too many people would notice such things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 17, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      I agree wholeheartedly my dear! Wouldn’t it be brilliant to have silence on public transportation? I know some cars on trains are now specifically for ‘quiet cars’ but not in Chicago! I think those trains are more for city to city, as opposed to in a city. Too many passengers getting on and off at stops! I agree also with the hearing loss. We will no doubt see in the years to come how young people are having hearing loss at much younger ages!! Why thank you; I am humbled by your words. I really appreciate that! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  13. January 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I do love throwback moments like that and you did a beautiful job describing it. You were kind of a throwback yourself. Like you said, most people spend our free moments absorbed with our tiny screens, but you were people watching! A lost art in our time. The product of your people watching: a wonderfully written post about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Well Phil, thank YOU so much for your extremely thoughtful words! I am so humbled by them, truly. I always feel rather ‘alone’ when I think that often I am the only one who isn’t on their phone, or playing screeching music from headphones. I wonder sometimes when I see (and have counted!) approximately 90% of folks on a train platform who are engaging in the activities I noted. And then there’s me, watching them do that which I am not doing! Hehehehe Thanks again for your words, Phil!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. January 18, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Down here in Texas we don’t do much in the way of train-riding, but our fellow travelers “share” their music with us just the same. I’ll be sitting at a light and before I “hear” their music I can feel it. Virtual hugs to your gentle musician.


    • January 18, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Jane! Wow, that is the epitome of ‘sharing’ music, don’t you think? My goodness!!! Awh, bless! I’m sure he’ll feel it! Thank you, Jane1 Cher xo


  15. February 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    You captured the moment beautifully. It’s been a long time since I did a morning train commute. I’m sure I would be uplifted to see your young man and his stack of books about music too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Why thank you so much, Joanna! I really appreciate your thoughtful words! Yes, I am positive you would have felt the same way as I did!! Cher xo


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