Sophia means “Wisdom.”
And I live on Sophia Street.
Sophia Street in Vancouver, Canada, was built in 1885 by developer Henry Valentine Edmonds. He named the thoroughfare “Sophy Street,” in honor of his sister. Edmonds’ business ventures flourished and so did his new neighborhood.
Today, Sophia Street is an urban residential street lined with cherry trees and cars. It sits one block east of the trendy, transitional Main Street, where thrift shops and bodegas flourish next door to pricey boutiques and gourmet restaurants.
Sophia Street is about 6 km long. Short and crooked, it makes ten jogs as it winds from its origin at Vancouver’s oldest street, Kingsway, to its endpoint at the Fraser River. You cannot drive, cycle, or skateboard its length, because three urban parks interrupt it.
Like Sophia Street, wisdom is lined with nature and artifice. You acquire it by observing and creating. Wisdom is always in transition. The old sits side by side with the new. Wisdom never runs in the straight line you expect, and you acquire it in fits and starts. You might as well pause in the parks along the way.
Because that’s when you get to see the amazing things that happen near Sophia Street: a dog takes charge of a difficult situation; doves escort a homeless man back to his shelter; classical piano music wells up from nowhere.
That’s the Sophia Street that I live on: the street that pulses with the hidden music of life. This is music in the key of wonder, and you have to listen carefully to hear it.
I’ve been listening to this music my whole life, or at least the last 38 years of it. I’ve lived and studied philosophy, spirituality, psychology and the arts, and they have transformed my perception. Every day, hidden levels of reality reveal themselves to me. Every day, I pause in the parks of Sophia Street, to soak up the wisdom of the ordinary.