The clocks go back tonight. It reminded me of a childhood story. It was about a man who lived in a house with many floors, each with a steep staircase leading to the next. The rooms on every floor each had a clock that needed to be wound. The man spent every day running up and down the stairs to wind the clocks, starting at the bottom of the house and working up. He would set them according to the time of the first clock, forgetting the time it would take him to run up all those stairs. He was constantly perplexed – all of his clocks were out of sync and he never knew the right time. Resolution came in the form of a friend who gave him a pocket watch he could carry with him and set each clock to that. This satisfied the man and presumably he lived happily ever after, forever setting his clocks, finding a peculiar contentment in always knowing the precise time.
Quite where I heard or read this story I have no idea but it caught my imagination – at the time purely because it just seemed so silly to me. Thinking about it now, it’s even sillier – a life lived trying to measure, contain and own time.
At some moment or other, we all try and do this. We wish away minutes, hate hours, dread days – reaching for something or someone the other side of that time. Maybe it’s only natural (or nurtural – that should be a word) but it feels like a waste. I want to live, to feel, in the moment. The next moment will come.
Today I have been mainly listening to James Blake’s ‘Klavierwerke’ EP [listen to I Only Know (What I Know Now) below]. His music is made out of patience. All those spaces, those breaths, those pauses. It slows my heartbeat; makes me glad to be just here, right now.