Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off the clock

The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
The bell.

T.S. Eliot - The Dry Salvages
On the first day of June I took off my watch - and haven't put it back on. And turned off the time on the front of my cell phone. I'm floating free of time, at least as much as you can in this day and age.

The time is everywhere, as it turns out. In my study upstairs the time is displayed in five different places: a clock on the wall, a clock on the kids' desk, a clock on the printer, a clock on the desktop computer, a clock on my laptop computer. If I wanted to dig for it, I could also find the time on my iPod. I can watch time fly without a watch.

The lack of a watch has made me both more and less attentive to the time. I'm more attentive to alternative cues (the kids coming home from the neighborhood school - must be 3:30). I'm less worried about what time it is when I'm talking to someone, or taking a walk, or driving.

I'm in the midst of writing a piece about ignoring time...which ironically has a due date. Back on the clock!


  1. "In the west you have clocks, in India we have time" was something I heard repeatedly during my month in south India..It is bizarre how removing the means of measuring somehow frees us from the passage of time. During a weekend on "Spiritual Traditions" during vicar-school, I was sent on a Franciscan day to wander, gaze and engage with God wherever I encountered Him. Before I set out, I was asked to remove my watch. For the first part of the day, the absence really worried me. I planned to get back for Midday Prayer - but how would I know when it was noon? That sort of thing...
    Finally I grasped that if I was focussing on God's presence everywhere, it would be OK to trust that I'd meet God exactly where and when I was supposed to. AFter that it ceased to matter...

  2. Hi Michelle!

    Interesting post given why I'm visiting today, which is to invite you to take part in the ring's prayer blog, RevGalPrayerPals. You can get an invitation from Songbird if you're interested.

    There is a daily inspirational post: prayer (could be original but most of us quote), song, picture, etc. Then people leave prayer requests, thanksgivings, and words of support in the comments. I have found it a wonderful source of support.

    It would be a contribution just to read, pray, and comment as you're moved....But if it felt like a lifegiving and not burdensome use of time I am looking for some new post-ers as well. The day's post-er gets something up as early in the day as possible (posting ahead with "options" can work great here). She also checks back if possible to respond to comments-though there are several of us who do this so it's not a big burden.

    The present Thursday post-er is ready for a break, so if you felt like taking over Thursdays or sharing them that would be great....Other days may also be opening up in the next week or so as I re-organize things. So please let me know if you would like to try out posting--and if so which days would be best and whether you'd like an every week commitment or a shared rota spot.