I live in the Upper Midwest, the Twin Cities to be exact, and on occasion I can hear church bells pealing. Not a recording of bells playing hymns (on different carillons no less):, but bells in real towers with ropes and someone pulling them from below. When they get going, it's a joyful racket!
Today was a lucky day in Minneapolis. I was downtown and getting ready to leave when I started to hear them. The irregular rhythm of larger bells oscillating slower than smaller bells. It always causes me to pause and breathe -- to take note of what's around me. In reflection, I imagine my European ancestors did the same and looked forward to the ringing of the bells as a means of telling time.
Although today was a dreary wet day (and I'm not complaining -- we need the rain) hearing this peal added a little sunshine to my day. At least it reminded me of the first time I had heard the bells of the Basilica. It was in the Sculpture Garden a couple of years ago with a colleague of mine. It was a warm sunny May day and late afternoon. Even from across the highway its message was clear. "Stop and smell the roses."