There’s this wooden lacquered clock that hangs above my bed that startles me every now and then. It was a gift from a friend I no longer talk to, but wonder about from time to time. The wood is from a tree that grew in her grandmother’s yard in Oregon. Her grandmother took the tree and used the bark to make these clocks and then gave them out as keepsakes to her family. My friend got two and gave one to me.
There are a couple of unusual things about this clock. First, it’s broken and tells the wrong time– no matter how I position the hands, the hour and the minute is off and the gold hands which are shaped like Victorian keys, are a bit bent and warped due to my many apartment moves. There are also small, blue streaks of turquoise shot through the wood to fill in the valleys and grooves of the face of the clock. I can see them in the lacquer of the wood like star streaks.
For the most part I forget it’s on my wall. But sometimes– around the midnight mark (which could be 4 pm) the hour hand presses up and jams against the second hand and there is a clicking tension that occurs. I always stop what i’m doing and stare at the jam because I can hear it. Time stops for a second. I watch the tension occur and then the hour hands wins and drops dramatically to the opposite end of the clock (6:00). Sometimes I’m asleep and i hear the hour drop to 6. It is a scuffle and then a release.
I’m not sure what is significant about all this other than the experience of forgetting something and then being startled enough to realize the presence of something. How industrious a clock is. How even when it is wrong, it keeps going– steadily moving all 3 of its hands. The second the hour the minute hand all moving along at its own measured pace. How I let it be wrong when I could have taken it to a shop to be fixed a long time ago, but let it just be this way telling the wrong hour. I am not sure why I do this, only that I find something beautiful in the way it operates separate from the actual experience of current time and reality. How removed it is and yet still functions steadily, persistently, in spite of. In spite of. Maybe that is the reason why.