In our Bermuda community, there’s a sound that we need to hear. It’s the sound of Bermuda as it quietly but steadily knits itself together. It’s a sound that I believe is getting quietly louder each day. But, if it is to be heard, it’s a sound that needs to be listened for.
When I listen with my writer’s ear, I can hear it easily. But when I listen as an ordinary person listens, that sound is usually drowned out by the louder and harsher sounds of discord. Recently, most recently, I heard the sound at the funeral service for the late Gloria McPhee.
To my writer’s ear, the sound itself is like the soft clicking sound that knitting needles make as, in the hands of a skilled knitter, they knit and purl single lines of black and white wool from separate balls of black and white wool, into the unified pattern and blended colours of a woolen sweater.
I have several woolen sweaters that were knitted specifically for me. Seeing or knowing that someone else has spent their time doing something so special and so personal, and just for me, makes that woolen garment extra-special to me. I like wearing these sweaters. I always have a special feel when I’m enclosed in their special warmth.
At the funeral service for Gloria McPhee, I heard the tributes and the songs. Along with the hundreds of others who attended, I took part in some of the singing myself. During the quiet moments that come in every funeral service, my writer’s eye saw the actions, and my writer’s ear heard the sounds, of my Bermudian community quietly knitting itself together.
I saw it in the visages and the colours and the ranks and the antecedents of all the pallbearers. I saw it in the blending of the congregation that filled the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. I heard it in the sounds of the laughter as erstwhile political opposites shared warm friendly human moments.
All over my Bermuda, all through my Bermudian community, my writer’s ear hears and my writer’s eye sees a community that is quietly knitting itself together. A community that is beginning to come to grips with and acknowledge its past; accept and get comfortable with its present; and with a new equanimity, is beginning to look towards a future that is better shared.
Sometimes – often – there are other, louder, voices. Voices of discord. Voices of anger. Voices from the past. These strident voices appear as headlines, boom out as unsettling sound-bites, and flash up on websites and rattle around the Internet. These are the voices of what I believe is a minority. A shrinking minority.
Amongst us, all around us, is this other sound that I’ve described. It is a quiet sound. It is the sound of ordinary people quietly knitting a new community. It is a sound that must be listened for.
Listen for it. Listen to it. It’s all around you