Time Lapse

“It’s going to fall,” I thought, eyes fixed on the old clock from across the room. “It’s going to fall.” Five to ten seconds later, the clock released itself from its perch of sixteen years, and crashed to the ground, splintering into several pieces. I looked at my husband and he looked at me in disbelief – “What happened??” he said, eyes wide.

“I knew it was going to fall,” I said, “I just had this feeling.”

The cuckoo had been keeping time to the rhythm of our family’s life since we were a young family of five. It “appeared” on our living room wall early one Christmas morning when the kids were toddlers and has been our metronome ever since. The steady tick-tock is such a part of our home that we only note it in its absence, and the twice hourly chime allows us to know what time it is with our ears alone. It has kept measure for us through every power outage with just a nightly tug on the chains to reset the weights for their steady descent floor-ward.

The day the clock fell my husband and I had just finished painting the living room, and were putting furniture and pictures back in place. Although the room look great, we were far from it because our daughter had left home abruptly and we were worried. This week-long summer painting project was less about redoing the living room as it was about keeping idle hands and minds from being overwhelmed with worry. The week was drawing to a close, the project was finished, but she had not come home. The chaotic disarray of our home mirrored our emotions all too well.

That afternoon, he hung the clock on the large single nail by placing the dime-sized opening in the back of the clock over the nail, securing it there as it had been for so many years. He stepped away from the clock to continue working.

Our life was upside down and our home was not right, and for this reason, I knew the clock would fall, so I watched it. Minutes later, it did. It crashed to the ground with a terrible sound. The nail in the wall remained untouched and the opening at the back was as before, but the three small animals and the base of the clock had broken loose and were scattered on the floor. Silently -sadly, we knelt to pick up the pieces, placing them gently in a cardboard paint box, wondering if we had found them all, wondering why the clock had fallen, and wondering if it could ever be restored.

“How did that happen?” he said, “the nail is still there.”

Time stopped when she left.

Days passed, and we sent the clock out to be repaired.

The clock came home in due time, and then she came home, too – to our huge relief.

The cuckoo has long since resumed its steady rhythm and through those daily measures we have evolved into family in mind and heart again.

Isn’t it strange how life just knows?

It just knows.

12 thoughts on “Time Lapse

    1. Everything is much better now, thank you. Although it wasn’t what I intended to write, this story wanted a voice and I just went with it. Just writing the account helped me to see connections I missed when it was actually happening.

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    1. You said it! Things like this seem to happen every once in a while. I am happy to try to stay in tune with the rhythms of life so I don’t miss these miraculous connections when the occur.

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    1. Thank you so much. I didn’t really recognize that until you pointed it out and I truly appreciate it. This story was waiting to be heard and was determined to write itself, much to my surprise. It feel really good to have it all on paper – a bit cathartic.

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  1. I love how you made that subtle connection between time, your daughter’s absence, and the clock falling. It is amazing how there is a movement in the universe, that when things are off, it knows.

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    1. Thank you so much. It kind of wrote itself. I intended to write about the clock, and this was the hidden story that pushed itself forward from my memory. I am encouraged that you too experience the energy around us. I think that happened again to me tonight in the writing of this story.

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  2. Wow, Deb. What a powerful piece. Funny, because I am referring to your story but my comment could also be referring to the clock. And you are right, life just knows.

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