The Power of Surprise
When you experience a surprise, there is a specific sequence that you go through, with the final phase being 'share'. We just can't help but want to talk about surprises that we've experienced. It helps us deal with the cognitive burden that has been placed on our poor brains and helps us to understand what has happened.
Today I'm going to share with you a surprise that my dad experienced many years ago. He passed away over 8 years ago now, and because of him telling me what happened, this surprise lives on. I like that.
One summer when I was a teenager, my Mam and Dad went out for a Sunday drive in the country with my Granny. I hadn’t gone with them as it sounded very boring and I was definitely too ‘cool’ for that.
They’d decided to go back to the area where my Granny had been born and brought up. The house where she lived had been long since demolished but they decided to stop close by anyway. They parked up next to a stone wall.
They were standing at this wall in the sunshine when Dad said ‘I can hear music’. All three of them listened carefully. And sure enough, they could hear music.
Fairy-like, ‘tinkly’ music, faintly playing its tune on the summer breeze.
They looked round to try and identify where it was coming from. It was before mobile phones were common, and there was no one about. It was very curious.
Beyond the wall, they saw a washing line. It was one with 3 poles so that the cord formed a triangle. The music seemed to be coming from right in the middle, coming from the ground.
It drew them in and they moved closer.
Surrounding where the music was playing, there were lots of pink dried roses lying on the ground.
Hanging from the washing line were even more roses, hung at regularly spaced intervals all the way round.
It was almost like some sort of shrine.
It was eerie. Creepy. But at the same time, fascinating.
The surprise combination of the unusual music, the visuals of the carefully placed dried roses, and the feeling of the sunshine on their faces had locked this experience in their minds.
My dad came home and told me all about it. He knew that it would appeal to my sense of curiosity and creativity. It did. I almost felt like I was there, experience if for myself.
My parents and Granny weren't the only ones who had been surprised by the 'shrine'. Many other people had happened across it too. Sometime later, the artist who created it had a small exhibition at the local museum and I went along to see it. As well as the music and dried roses on display, there were lots of other rose decorated objects that she had collected and created. Although I enjoyed looking round, it didn't have the same impact as when my dad had told me about his experience of the 'real thing'. I guess that's the power of surprise - it takes your attention and forces you to focus on it. It imprints itself into your memories.