Silence Knows

Who is watching this marvelous play?

In the village streets of Tiruvannamalai much of daily life happens on the streets – in the  dirt or paved road, frequently in front of the entrance to the house. Cooking, washing clothes and pots, combing and braiding a child’s hair, putting a mark of sacred ash on the forehead, sweeping out the dirt from inside the house, sometimes washing bodies. Today on my walk through the downtown village streets, I turned a corner and saw a woman placing small chunks of charcoal into an ironing box. Underneath the bits of black coal a few burned a fiery orange, sending smoke adrift into the air.


Placing Charcoal in Iron-Box, Tiruvannamalai, South India

It was the first time I saw one of these wrist-breakers with its top open. I’ve often marveled at the contraption that looks like it came from medieval times. But they sure make good sense with all the power cuts!

The “charcoal woman” squatted in the sandy dirt and piece-by-piece filled the box to the brim. My magic lens caught her by surprise.

When I showed her the picture she giggled and for a few moments we laughed together. I didn’t know if she was delighted or embarrassed but then she ran over to tell a woman friend, gesturing like an excited monkey. I doubted if anyone in her familiar circle  appreciated and noticed her humble work – a small woman in the middle of the street, putting precious charcoal in an antiquated ironing tool to earn a few rupees. Likely afterward to lift the heavy box and spend long hours ironing.

It’s like this in the meeting of hearts – 

– spaciousness, beauty, silence… laughter.


I waved, walked on then turned back around to witness her radiant smile. Perhaps today at least, the iron box would be feather-light in her hands.


About smallpebbles

A simple life unfolding moment by moment
This entry was posted in Advaita, Devotion, India, Oneness, Peace, Photographs, Silence, Spirituality-Inner Life, Tiruvannamalai and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Silence Knows

  1. 2Spools says:

    Quite lovely. Final paragraph is adorable.

    • smallpebbles says:

      thanks for leaving a response!! think my reply didn’t go through so will try again…. somehow it is easy to just keep on walking and miss the simple…..being in india though, where life happens on the streets, the heart is constantly tenderized

  2. Dear Kai and Chris,
    You have brought another precious moment out into Consciousness!
    I finally posted my article on Ramana:

    • smallpebbles says:

      Yes……really all precious BEING THIS! Taking a small respite from blogging but will check out your article……the great silent one….Ramana! shanti….kai

  3. marga t. says:

    Your eye seeing: what a humble-seeming thing that is full of the power of attention! AND when you share this eye’s view, It is like the universe itself looks out through all of us through your eye. I know what i am trying to say, I feel it, not sure if I can convey to you. I Love this moment.

    • smallpebbles says:

      Marga, your words went straight into the heart…….it’s the LOVE ay, the LOVE we all are! thanks dear sister…….how precious this living love! thanks for your response, tears are coming!

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