Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Grandmother's Clock

I wanted to share a recent experience of mine. One of those life moments when we realize it is time to change directions and slow down and pull the 'inner' strength needed to continue on. My family will remember the old mantle clock we grew up with and it's special sound.
Molly (Aultz) Vanorden
On a cloudy day when winter’s grasp was releasing spring, she came. 

Fragile and worn, she was delivered from a place I had never been, a time I had never known, a thousand miles and a century away. She was born in a time before electric lights, modern conveniences, television, and twitter. An ambassador of a gentler age, her embellishments were now faded, dark wood patina softened, small inclusions in green marble, a testament to her resiliency. Her work continued day and night. With loving care she marked the passage of time, events large and small, a birth, the return of a loved one from work, time to release the cares of the waning day as the sunset announced the dusk.

Even across the expanse of time and distance, I remembered her. She was a sister to one given to my great grandparents on their wedding day. Growing up I had fond memories of her gentle sound. Marking each minute her gentle tick-tock would beat like a heart, never failing. A low resonant sound marked the hours as her pendulum gently struck. In her sound, I could hear and feel loved ones and homes now passed. The sound was familiar and peaceful. 

Her original face, burnished mechanism, pendulum and winding key came carefully packaged. I gently freed her from the cocoon of paper and bubble wrap. I was too young when I had seen her last to remember exactly how to initiate the tick and the tock. With several turns of the winding key and pendulum adjustment, she came to life for me. I marveled that she could keep perfect time just as she had for over a century, no electricity, no batteries, no digital signal. 

With the television in the background, and the finishing of the dishes for the day, a thought occurred to me – the clock must be broken? She wasn’t making any noise. No tick-tock was discernable. The deep gong of the hour I could hear but it seemed so far away.
And then I realized…..
I finished my work and turned off the TV. I sat quietly. I listened and as I listened she became louder and louder ‘tick-tock, tick-tock’. I closed my eyes and memories washed over me. In the forgotten stillness of all those years, she was the same. cheerfully marking the minutes and hours. There were no TV’s in my grandmother’s house, no cell phones ringing, no overwhelming sounds to diminish the profound silence. 

And in that day, I remembered the beauty of quiet and a simpler time, a slower time. 

I pondered how much of life I had missed because of the noise, the chaos, the endless banter. Voices are louder, life is faster, families do not sit down together when the pendulum resonates the sacred hour, we are too busy, we are all in different places, but in that evening, in a quiet home, the clock’s pendulum resonated. Her beautiful sound penetrated me, and for the first time in years, I could hear my soul.

~In loving memory of my Great Grandparents Dot 'Dear Mom' and Ezra Josef Werry

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