We’re all familiar with the phrase, a “train of thought.” To follow our thoughts wherever they lead, without worrying about consistency or logic. That’s what I found myself doing this morning when I was brushing my teeth, but — considering the subject matter — a “ship of thought” seems more appropriate.
So I was brushing my teeth, a lengthy process involving intradental brush and floss as well as brush and toothpaste. My thoughts began wandering to the book on meditation I’ve been reading, and the importance of resolute action in building up the will, and how one can begin with the smallest action, like brushing one’s teeth perhaps? so that it becomes thought-filled and resolute and ceremonial.
Well, I thought. What possible ceremonial use might brushing my teeth honor? (It’s a long and boring task and unless I am mighty resolute I’m all too apt to skip it.) Hmmm. Teeth, like one’s bones, last after death. Maybe then one’s skeleton, including teeth, deserves honor now for its long-lasting task. Honoring my skeleton, honoring my teeth would then be (maybe) worthy of ceremony. And then the phrase popped into my head, from Shakespeare definitely, from The Tempest maybe, “Full fathoms five thy father lies, these are pearls that were his eyes.”
Pearls? How can a drowned man’s eyes be pearls? Ivory the bones, ivory the teeth, yes. But pearls that were his eyes? And fathoms? How deep is a fathom anyway? Pretty deep, I’m sure. We speak of lakes that are fathomless —- so deep that one cannot sound (another nautical term) the bottom. So the expression: “I can’t fathom that” actually means that the meaning lies so deep that I can’t possibly reach it.
And then the thought struck me (by now my teeth were clean and pearly, aha! pearly white again) that perhaps I am honoring my intention and my teeth by writing down this “ship of thought” and even having the chutzpah to share it with you, presuming that you may perhaps be interested, and even be prompted to set sail on some “ship of thought” of your own —
Maybe to share? Maybe to honor your own thoughts?
(I may be innumerate and ignorant of numbers, as I’ve chronicled, but when it comes to letters, there’s no shortage!)