Humming Machines

Often, while I was waiting for my evening college class to begin, I sat in a lobby at the college surrounded by humming snack machines, and it occasionally got me thinking about the humming minds of students and their teachers. For three hours on fifteen nights each semester, my students and I met together in a small room, and, though each of us was sometimes silent, our minds were always making the steady sounds of earnest thinking. That’s what minds do: they silently hum like hardworking snack machines, making endless refreshments, you might say, for our thought-hungry lives. After all, we live on thoughts, all of us. Our thoughts feed us, fill us with spirit and vision, and free us to find new ways to widen our lives. Whether we’re working on an important project or just enjoying an idle afternoon, our minds are manufacturing thoughts that can carry us a thousand miles in a millisecond. Our minds are mechanisms made of a wild kind of wisdom, and they hum with the liveliness of limitless snack machines. I tried to keep this in mind as I made my way with my students through our evening classes. In the deadest, most soundless moments of a class, our always animated minds were beating the drums of thoughts and throwing thinking parties inside us. Silence and dullness on the outside, perhaps, but inside, always the purr and pulsation of spirited thoughts. 

This morning Delycia and I heard another kind of humming machine – that of a dense and flourishing forest. We took an hour-long walk through the Oswegatchie Nature Preserve in Niantic, CT, and I think we both loved the richness of the place, the overflowing wealth of countless kinds of life carrying on their silent humming all around us as we walked. We especially noticed the mushrooms as they sat here and there in a sort of princely stillness, but surely surging with life inside. Here’s a quick slideshow of our favorites …

And here’s another slideshow of some of the other silent ‘humming machines’ we passed on our walk …

And finally, the lovable and loving walkers themselves …

One thought on “Humming Machines”

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