Monday, December 15, 2008

Thump thump

Several weeks ago I heard a story on the radio discussing the various onomatopoeias used across the world to describe a heartbeat. For those of you, like me, who don't remember much of high school english, an onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it is describing. So some common examples would be "bzzzz" for the sound a bee makes, "crash" for the sound of something breaking, and "ruff ruff" for the sound of a dog. In English we generally use the word "thump thump" for the sound of a beating heart, but strangely enough this isn't how all cultures think a heart sounds. In Spain and Germany they hear "bum bum." If you're in Russia you hear "tuk tuk" and in Denmark you hear "boenk boenk." Or if you speak Arabic you say "bom bom." The idea that such a common thread throughout the world could be perceived so differently I think speaks a lot about the uniqueness of humans. We all, more or less, share a common structure in the heart. The functionality is the same regardless of race, religion, gender, or socio-economic standing. But because of the individuality of our cultures and ourselves everyone sees the same organ a little bit differently.

Now fast forward to last week when Becca and I got to go in for our second doctor's appointment and for the first time we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. To me, the sound came across as more of a "whish whoosh" than a "thump thum," "tuk tuk" or however else you want to say it. But regardless to how I perceived the 155 beats per minute it was something unique to this world. It's mind-boggling to think that some day that little whish whoosh will have its own outlook on things that will be different than anything I have ever considered. It will see the world through its own eyes, live its own experiences, and probably have its own version of what a heart sounds like.

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