L2 – Day 33: Bubbles of Solitude

L2 – Day 33: Bubbles of Solitude

Since it’s lockdown and there are four of us at home this week, we all spent a large part of today in our personal sound bubbles.

Ever heard that term before?

I heard it for the first time in a TEDTalk by Julian Treasure, entitled: 5 Ways to Listen Better (If you’ve got 7.5 minutes, I recommend it). He says that we retreat into personal sound bubbles when we insert headphones, to take refuge from an overly noisy world.

4 Personal Sound Bubbles

  • Sophie was attending classes via video-conference. Her earbuds allowed her to hear better and served as her microphone when needed.
  • Liz, also in the living room, was translating and listening to wordless, Christmasy music, allowing her to concentrate & tune out Soph’s interactions.
  • Dominic was upstairs in his room, working virtually with a schoolmate, using headphones for the same reasons as Soph.
  • Me… I was also upstairs, working in an open area at the top of the stairs, next to Dominic’s room and within earshot of the living room.

I was working on two things: (a) compiling grades for my Angers students and (b) preparing a message for the Bordeaux church’s Wednesday service.

I wasn’t interacting with anyone, but again, it helped me drown out the ambient noise.

I was listening to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. A wonderful baroque classic which, even though there are words, they’re in German, so it’s just background noise for me. If you’d like to take a listen, here’s a recording by the Lucerne Chamber Orchestra & Chorus (not something to necessarily sit & watch, but to have playing in the background).


We go into our personal sound bubbles and it’s like we’re all this guy: Alone.

I took this photo, in June 2005, of a security employee at the Garnier Opera, in Paris. He was empty in the frame and there was this gorgeous light filtering in and reflecting on the floor and woodwork.

I’ve always loved this photo and often pair it with Joshua 1.8:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Loneliness vs. Solitude

I think I’ve shared my favourite Paul Tillich quote here before, but if you’re new to the blog, or don’t remember, here it is:

“Our language has wisely sensed these two sides of man’s being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”

Working with J.S. Bach in my ears took me to a different place. I wasn’t just marking, or studying, I was experiencing the positive side of being alone, the glorious part: solitude.

Call me crazy, but good music enriches us. Like the bees, yesterday… it causes me to experience a sense of wonder, and wonder is good for the soul (particularly when, physically, we’re not transported very far, very often).

That’s my rambling for today.
Tomorrow, I’ll be offering you up something a little different:
a sacred prayer, etched in bronze, in the Pink City.

See you then!
God bless you & thanks for stopping by.

3 responses

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. I’ll give it a listen the next time I need ambient noise–which will be sooner than later no doubt. Classical music is usually my go-to anyway!

    • Oh you’re welcome Nancy! I discovered it years ago in a college Humanities / Western Civilization course and it stuck. I’m not always baroque but I do love this one. Enjoy!

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