Claire rounds the corner with a clock in hand. Her curiosity coupled with sticky fingers has led her to take it from a forbidden drawer. For once, her father doesn't mind.
"Your great-grandfather gave me that clock!" he says with delight. He shares memories of his grandfather, as he shows Claire how it works.
It really doesn't function as a clock anymore. It's purpose is to sit in the drawer and remind George of his grandfather, when occasionally remembered.
Claire's interest in the piece wanes quickly, as is expected of a toddler. She abandons it to the kitchen floor, still ticking.
I sit and listen to it. I feel soothed.
I remember winding my watch as a child, holding it to my ear, listening to the gears turn. I used to imagine the inner workings touching one another, moving in unison, sending the clock hands spinning around its face (a human metaphor). The perpetual turning, the relentless rhythmic tock tock signified time moving forward.
I realize that we don't hear this sound much anymore in the digital age. We no longer have a concrete manifestation of time, like the ticking of a clock. Of course, we still have our hearts beating. I always liked that the clock sat on the outside, though, marking time along with our beating hearts.
I wonder what this shift in perception does to our worldview, how we think about life and death.
If Claire reads this post years from now, she may find me archaic and quaint -- like a person from an age long past who misses the horse's clip-clop trot when the horseless carriage was first invented.
My daughter may feel about me the way that I feel about them. It's hard to miss something you've never known.
I remember lines from the Baudelaire poem, The Swan, that my husband shared with me once,
The form of a city
Changes more quickly, alas! than the human heart
Indeed. The digital age moves faster than our beating hearts. A less elegant riff on Baudelaire for Claire's day.
This post was inspired by Edgar Oliver.
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