Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tick...tock, tick...tock, tick...tock

I wound the mantel clocks early this morning. Fourteen cranks clockwise in the right winding arbor to keep time moving forward; eighteen cranks clockwise in the left winding arbor to keep them chiming every half hour.

The clock in the dining room was my first one. The kitchen clock, my second, is white adamatine, with an ornate face. The large ebony, three-pillared one is in Paul's office. The oak clock is in the dressing room; Paul would not allow it by our bedside. And there is one on the mantel in the living room with a battery-operated, musical/chiming mechanism. This was a garbage sale find; a pretty face without any guts. John, the clockmaker, assured me he could make this clock sing again. And it does. My latest acquisition is a clunky old clock which whirs, bangs, and creaks, trying to shake out its chime. This one sits atop the bookcase in the hallway at the top of the stairs.

These clocks are on eight-day cycles, but when I am gone all day at school, I don't hear their silence. Being home now over winter break, I noticed that the house was eerily quiet. By 9 o'clock this morning, they all chimed in unison. Even the finches broke out in song. It was glorious.

It's late afternoon now and the house is filled with the rhythmic tick...tock of the clocks.

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