Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quicker than Our Hearts

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.

Clock handsIt 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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32 comments:

  1. Time does indeed move too quickly unless you are counting down the hours until bedtime then it seems to drag on and on!

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  2. This is such a beautiful post... Times and things do change far to quickly and often in the blink of an eye
    www.mommysrambles.blogspot.com

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    1. I am a nostalgic person, by nature, so I have a particularly hard time moving forward. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into Facebook!

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  3. Oh I remember having a Cinderella Watch that my grandfather gave me and hearing that sound of the gears working inside of it. And you are right we truly don't hear that sound anymore. My kids most likely won't know that or so much more like old transistor radios, TVs with antennas, rotary phones. The list can go on and I am sure it will grow longer for future generations, too.

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    1. My watch was Minnie Mouse! I still have it....somewhere!

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  4. I keep my dad's favorite sweater in my closet. It's old and has holes in the sleeves, but it reminds me of him.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2013/06/wordless-wednesday-haircuts.html

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  5. I have been talking to my sister about these things lately. How time has sped up so much, and how the kids don't even seem interested in the "old fashioned" versions. Of course, why should they? We are attached to our technology. Sometimes it makes me want to only use my computer when I'm locked in a room he can't see. I know that is crazy, overkill, but it makes me sad - nostalgic.

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    1. I absolutely have those impulses. You are right. It's overkill...especially for a blogger!

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  6. I think ticking clocks will be with us for a long, long time. Just like paper books, no matter how many books we load up on our kindles...

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    1. I agree about the books. The clock...I'm not so sure, unfortunately!

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  7. I often wonder that too when I watch my son on the "clicker box" as my parents call the ipod/tablet.
    Time evolves so quickly and everything around us does too. Food for thought friend...

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    1. I can't even imagine what my grandparents would think of some of this stuff! It all has its uses, of course. We wouldn't want to go back. Well, sometimes.

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  8. Sometimes, I get frightened by how quickly technology moves and I wonder what gadgets will be personal "necessities" when my son is my age. So much has changed since I was a child - hearing the tick tock of a clock being one of them. This is - as always - a great post, Rachel. And I love the sound of a horse's clip clop. Maybe even more than a tick tock.

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    1. Ha! I love that "personal necessities"! They will probably have a chip implanted in their arms!

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  9. So eloquent! So beautifully said! And I know exactly what you mean.
    I love clocks. I have one large beauty, hand-made by my father, that sits atop the bookcase in our living room. It, and the grandfather clock next to it, chime out the quarter hours in (more or less) unison. The grandfather even ticks. It definitely sets the rhythm in our home . . .

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    1. Why am I not surprised, Diane? That seems so you! Lovely!

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  10. You know, I hadn't thought of that how a clock is becoming a lost art. And what that means for all of us, we are moving so quickly we do not hear the seconds as they tick by.

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    1. Yup. Everything is becoming less concrete. I don't know if that's necessarily bad. It probably just is, or maybe, good and bad.

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  11. Your writing skills never cease to amaze me. This is really good. I love the faint sound of a ticking clock as well--there IS some comfort found there. Love the analogy to the heartbeat.

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  12. How did I miss this post? Beautiful. I'd never thought of time quite like that. And how it's missing in that specific way for our children. Maybe that's why they need the Sleep Sheep to go to bed...

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  13. Yes, it is strange how keeping track of time has changed. I can't remember the last time I saw a person actually wear a watch. And the lines from that poem are beautiful.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

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  14. Hola Rachel!
    I must be from another planet because as I read your post, it took me back to when I was a child and would mentally visualize my brain as a clock with the wheels turning and splashes of water cleansing away the oil and dirt...aaah....weird huh? That's why your writing fascinates me, it's like it has magic powers "/

    ~SimplyyMayra

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  15. Such a thoughtful post.

    I remember watching the second hand tick by as I counted down to something(end of the school day or a class, usually) and my kids have no idea what that is like.

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  16. This is nice! Found your blog through Showing Some Love Hump Day and followed your blog!
    Laura, http://camillaandroman.blogspot.com/

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  17. Now I want a clock in the house. My grandfather had this amazing clock that told time with ball bearings. For every minute a ball bearing would drop and roll along a maze, when five got together those would drop 4 would go back to the beginning and one would drop on another level to count down the time in 5 and so forth and so on. I could spend hours watching those balls drop and roll along the maze.

    Those hours were some of the few hours that just flew by in childhood.

    Stopping by on the Harvest of Friends weekend blog hop and following. Feel free to check me out at www.feliciasreddoorlife.com

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  18. I was shocked to discover my child was in second grade and did not know how to tell time on a nondigital clock!!

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  19. Strange as I'd never thought that we so rarely hear a clock ticking these days. How odd! There are bound to be so many things that our children are unfamiliar with in years to come and we will sounds so ancient!

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  20. I have a clock that doesnt work in our cupboard but it reminded me of a grandparent that had passed away and its just comforting to see it from time to time.

    Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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  21. We had a hugh grandfather clock in the living room and it always gave me the creeps when I was younger. The ticking was unnerving. Now I love the sound. It reminds me of home :) Nice post

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