I am the Clock Maker
I had a shop in Florida. There, I, the Clock Maker performed my duty.
I quietly and patiently formed the sprockets of time. Each one was meticulously crafted with precise and careful carvings. Some clocks were beautiful, accurate. Some stopped as soon as they were wound. With so many ideas there was little time for perfection in the final product, yet so many beautiful timepieces were made. The shop made wonders, I made wonders—drawn deep from somewhere within me, deep, ticking and tocking.
As time passed, my work bench was stained red from the application of tools. The scars built upon calluses of history and task. My hands grew weary, crippled and arthritic. Each piece, each gear, each sprocket became harder to hold, to form, to gear into my clocks. My production began to wane. Each day my clocks were less dependable than the day before. Each hour, hands slowing on dials, stopping—gears grinding to a halt as my ambitions fumbled for dull, worn-out tools.
I would look out my window, at the sand, the moss, and other tropical foliage. I’d dream of a life with rain and grey. How I hated the world outside my shop, so hot, humid, and devoid of culture. I longed for a life where I could feel time all around me, tactile and flowing. I pictured myself in the gray up north. There, I could move about, leave my shop. The Pacific wind would refresh me, heal the scars. It would whip me into interesting patterns and beat me with the lines of time. Feminine hands would reach across me, as a slap, as a caress. Each experience would inspire, infuse me with time. Each time my mind would wander—another clock would sit on my bench, from my hands; never once having ticked a second.
My heart had left my shop, swept away by my dreams of time. I needed to shut down the business of making time to be part of it. This realization was a painful endeavor for a clock maker, but something so desperately needed that I could be nothing but aware.
And so it was, one day, that I opened the door and was gone. Awash in time, I left a sign on the door. It said:
"Closed, there is no more time. Be well and remember to wind..."
I breathed in the highway, and it was a rush. Life was a rush. I could feel time ticking against my wrist—tapping out of sync with my quickening pulse. Time was ticking, its devious little trick. I felt so full, so alive as to have no idea of time’s passing.
The Emerald City was the home for which I longed, of that I could be sure. Cast in the forever gray, I scrambled under its inhabitants’ umbrellas. I met many people; each engrossed with their own time. They came suddenly, and some not at all. I learned to read their faces, like the dials of the clocks I used to make. In their eyes, I could see the lines that time had windswept. It was interesting if nothing else.
I thought often about making clocks. For years I thought of putting a shop here, a shop there. I looked often at store fronts and wondered how I’d fit. But, it was hard to concentrate, my life a recurring storm of emotions, rain, abrasions, buffetings, and repellents. I was no longer imprisoned by my work, but I found my destiny abutted by circumstance and troubles. And like so many around me, I was a member of time and no longer a maker.
During this time, I’ve become keenly aware of the only thing that time truly brings. Of this I am afraid, but more so...I’m afraid of living under the shadow of time. It is a circumstance in which a clock maker never belongs. The beauty of making time is in the fact you don’t have to live it, be slave to it, or bother much with its ticking.
And that brings us to the now, the present...
When one first crafts a clock. There is a moment, when all the gears are solid, the hands are set and the winding is done. That initial burst, when the hands tick for the first time—a shock of life. It’s a moment of creation. It is the gift of the clock maker. In the joy of this moment, we makers never think of the last tick, the last gasp that will surely come for our creation. By creating, we avoid thinking about the inevitable.
I so wish to never think of the inevitable.
And that is how it came to pass that this day, as I type these words—I shall return to my shop. The outside world bores me, and has left me strained and weak of heart. I’m longing for solitude, away from the ticking of time. Yes, I’m running from the final stroke, but it is my life, and this is what I chose to do. If you want me, I’ll be in a tiny shop, on a blustery day, quietly filing gears, winding clocks and rarely looking outside.
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