Last winter, I was out for a walk one afternoon as the sun was getting low in the sky. I saw a man sitting at a table on the corner of Nathan Phillips Square, alone, studying a chessboard.
I approached him and asked if I could take his picture: he agreed. To me, his striking image is emblematic of how we exist in the quiet.
We learn, travel, feel happy, and experience impatience, all in silence. Of course, with sound, these feelings and experiences can take on a different character.
Two people stand, waiting for a TTC train on New Year’s eve. GABRIEL CARTER/THEVARSITY
Noisy impatience might be accompanied by huffing and puffing, rapid tapping toes, and repeated questions of how long the wait will be. Likewise, loud expressions of happiness might involve exuberant screaming and ecstatic shouting.
Hushed moments include none of these things. Noiseless impatience can be seen in the shivering bodies of people waiting in the cold for their orders. And silent happiness can manifest through a smile given wordlessly to a stranger. Such soundless experiences are ordinary, varied, and important.
As I write this, I sit on a Kipling-bound TTC train. I, too, feel the quiet.