Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grandfather clocks

I've never been a fan of so-called Grandfather clocks.  There was one at my former church in the library right next to my office.  It would chime on the hour but the chime was broken so it kind of did this bong-brongggggggg thing that was off-key and annoying.  It never chimed the correct hour, had that awful bong-bronggggg and required a weekly winding.  That didn't always happen, which was lovely, but when it did get wound, it drove me I would just go in and stop it.  I think I drove the owner of this clock crazy.

The part of Grandfather clocks I do appreciate are the swinging pendulums. If everything is wound correctly they keep perfect time, swinging gently from left to right and back again, in a rhythm that rarely changes.  Right to left, left to right, the pendulum swings in a steady pace, creating a hypnotic rhythm.

Part of me wishes that life worked the same way as a pendulum in a Grandfather clock.  I wish there were a steadiness to the rhythm, a pattern, a certainty as to when the pendulum would swing left to right, right to left.  I wish there was a way we could tell when the pendulum would swing in the opposite direction in order to prepare a little bit for that downward swing and the uphill climb.  I wish I could pinpoint the moment when I would begin that downward swing, to prepare myself for the rush of emotions, the descent into whatever is at the bottom of the curve and gird my strength for the push up the other side of the curve.

There is no preparing, though, for when the pendulum swings downward.  It just happens.  The descent can be slow or swift, the push up the other side of the curve can be equally slow or swift.  The pause at the top can be a brief moment or a long sweet stay at the top.  The pause at the bottom can be excruciatingly long.  There is no regular rhythm to the pendulum of life.

Left to right, right to left, the pendulum in a Grandfather clock swings.  Steadily, along the same path, with little deviation.  Occasionally the clock winds down, waiting for someone to come along and wind it up again, giving the pendulum another push back into the consistency of it's swing.  I can relate to the Grandfather clock in that instance, as I wait, stagnantly, for someone to come along and give me a little push.

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