A Quiet Moment

Sam came running through Pat's house yesterday. "You HAVE to come and listen to this!!" So I did. He took me into the centre of the living room and said "Shhhhh. Be absolutely quiet."

As the silence wrapped itself around us, I heard it: the ticking of dozens of clocks, the swinging of pendulums, the tiny noises of gears changing minutes. Sweeeeet. And only Sam would ever have been quiet long enough to hear this strangely comforting sound.

Pat and my aunty Ina, who died earlier this year, have collected clocks for ever. Today is clock-winding day, so I picked up the "key-ring", a bunch of clock keys in different sizes, some with fancy olde handles, one with a sort of crank turner, and I went around the clocks winding them up. Chas watched in fascination as weights went up and he stopped a pendulum with the gentlest touch. We started it going again, tick, tick, tick. I love these old clocks. Every hour a whole bunch of them start to ding and dong, or chime, or even cuckoo! The cuckoo clock is in for repairs this week, and I can't say I miss it dreadfully... I prefer chimes to CUCKOO! CUCKOO! But the cuckoo was Ina's favorite I think, and that makes it special.

The house is so strange without Ina here. I have spent plenty of time here over the years, but seldom without the Ina prescence, cooking mountains of food for hordes of hungry people and giving good advice. The house is quiet these days.

Except for the clocks.


Unknown said…
How wonderfully serene a place such as that must be, with the constant ticking of clocks to lull one's senses.
Nan Sheppard said…
It WOULD be serene, if Chas and Max ever stopped talking....
Anonymous said…
That is so cool. My husband inherited a clock a year ago that ticks and chimes. At first I hated it, but now I like it, too. A very peaceful sound.
Anonymous said…
Starts you thinking...hmmm
if you had to make a model of it...what would the proverbial biological clock look like?

i am the diva said…
that handful of keys is the coolest thing i've seen all day!
Cheffie-Mom said…
Wow, what a very special experience. I love the photo.
oh, what a lovely post.
I grew up in a house with many old wind up clocks that would chime throughout the night. Sometimes I swear I can still hear a clock chiming in the middle of the night when I can't sleep.
Bruce Teague said…
We have a single digital clock in our bedroom and that's the only clock for the whole house. It drives me mad. Every time I need to know what time it is I have to walk to the bedroom. Someday I'll buy another clock or two.
Nan Sheppard said…
And here is the Poem that Myles adapted, and read for Ina's funeral which was also her birthday...

Tick, Tock, Life Never Stops

Tick Tock, Life never stops,
Met a young airman and tied the knot.
Moved to England to follow a dream,
Soon there were 5 hungry mouths on the scene.

Handsome, tall, big and strong,
Looking after them, I’d rush along.
Animals, children, waifs and strays,
A new addition every day.

Tick Tock, Life never stops,
Ironing, cleaning, putting on socks.
Driving to Germany, in our 504,
“Fasten your belts, don’t slam the door!”

Apple crumble, ice-cream, salami,
Lentils, bratwurst, macaroni.
Rollmop, herring, gerkins in the middle,
“German food is half the price at Lidl.”

Tick Tock, Life never stops,
Searching for bargains from shop to shop.
“Life’s not fair”, was my rule,
“I had to walk 5 miles to school.“

A dozen clocks all need winding,
Every hour a din of chiming.
Time is precious, how quick its passed,
My largest pain is I left you so fast.

Tick Tock, Life never stops,
I’m on a journey to the top.
I now know, what all this means,
Not a muddle of memories, but a pastiche of dreams.

As I passed away, I entered your dream,
To show you I was calm and serene.
You looked me in the eye only to say,
“You look so perfect”, then I flew away.

Tick Tock, my life just stopped.
Son, do not think you could have said more,
To me your whisper is a roar.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

So wish me a happy birthday,
Celebrate with me, this special day.
Just like my beautiful clocks,
Tick Tock, Life never stops.

Myles O’Connor (2009) and Mary Frye (1932)
Aunt Becky said…
That sounds perfectly lovely.