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Counting Time

The clocks tick, tock, tick, tock, tick. I sit in the counting and feel the distance between the present moment and long ago and much further east where I last felt this consistent pulse.

My father was an antique dealer and loved old clocks. He had many of them in his house, and each night, he would walk around on old, creaky floors winding them, commenting on their beauty and tone, and reveled in the chimes at every quarter hour.

Contemporary tocks are hollow. They come from plastic cases run with batteries, and like so many new things, are a pale and and thin experience compared to what came before. This is a lesson I imbibed wholeheartedly; the value of good work, of items crafted with the user in mind, not just their money, but their lives, for if something is to count down the seconds, minutes and hours of your life, it is best if it is something that counts with style, grace, and some type of solid authority. I want a reverence in the clock that marks the moments in my life.

This thing that I have about well-made objects is one way I know myself. I don’t want throw-away culture because there is nothing in it for me. To bathe in the history of a thing or a place is to better understand what I love and why. To understand that an item was loved by a person who is now dead is to live with a lovely echo that is not your own, but human nonetheless.

I make things. I write. I hope to bring a little bit of joy to people by giving them my art, or, maybe if I am lucky, selling it to them. I make the things I make because I love the process I must use to bring them about. I have spent a good portion of my life figuring out how to put my heart into the things I make while simultaneously cultivating the ability to let go of the end product.

Detachment is a dreamy state where I feel so in love with a moment I must forget in the next and the next and the next. So much is missed on the surface of things that to move through the world too quickly is a cheat. I am appalled by the idea that you must “hack” experiences in life, or fit your work week into only four hours, do less to get more in less time. What is a life made of if not the tasks you do to make a living? To live a life?

Like the old clocks that counted time in my father’s house, I like to feel the seconds seeping. I like to know that there is some meaning to passing my time, other than avoiding engaging with it. I won’t be trying to avoid wrinkles, or getting rid of any of the marks that show my age because I am proud of the time I have spent taking the world in to my body and illuminating the moments that have mattered to me.

Like my father reveling in the passing of every quarter hour, I too will celebrate the moments that I have fully engaged with the world around me. I will bathe in the knowledge that I took the opportunity to feel and love as much as I could while I had the time.