Hours

analog_clockClocks don’t tick any more. Once upon a time, clocks were wound. The ticking of clock springs divided time. Darkness had cadence.

Bombs must not tick anymore. In James Bond movies, green and red wires attach to a wind-up clock. Tick-tick-tick: the immobile hour hand and the long minute hand lurching forward by anticipated seconds. It’s nearly midnight before 007 snips the red wire with his platinum nail clippers. These days, bombs detonate digitally, at a distance, with a cell phone. I suppose that’s progress.

It brings to mind that dark time of night, the very middle of the night, when the clock strikes three. It’s when we awake, or lie awake, soaked in apprehension verging on terror tossing and tangled in sweaty sheets. The prowling beast is at the door. In daylight we are distracted with shiny things; in the hour of the wolf, we startle awake to stare into night’s shadow.

Every journey begins in the dark. As you settle back into your chair while the house lights dim, but before the curtain rises, you begin. Lie awake in the night to listen for the alarm to catch your early flight out. Float in the dark waters of your mother’s womb, the light of the world inconceivable. We can hear our own heartbeat, there in the dark, alone with the dream and the terror.

Contemplation

heron_waitingWind and water, waiting in silence, contemplation and observance, a great blue heron watches.

From the Legge translation of I Ching Hexagram 20:

The Chinese character from which this hexagram is named is used in the sense of both seeing and being seen. The theme is the sovereign and his people — how he shows himself to them, and how they in turn perceive him…In the Judgment the ruler is portrayed as a worshipper at the commencement of a sacrifice. He is the great Manifester.”

k.