It was autumn of 1998. I was 9 years old at the time and it was my first fall in Boston. I remember looking out of my Grandfather’s two-story house into the wind-mussed array of red, yellow, and orange on the ground. It was silent in the house and the only sound came from the rustle of the wind on the creaking limbs of the trees. I was deep in thought when resonating sounds boomed in the hallway, interrupting my thoughts from the timeless recesses of my mind. Curious as to where the sound had come from, I walked into the cluttered hallway in search of the sound. Around the corner of the hallway, toward the end of the living room, I found a Grandfather clock.
It stood 7 feet, encased in glass, with sides made of well-polished redwood. Inside, the heavy bronze pendulum swung while its ancient sides creaked and swayed to each movement of the weight. Messy, cluttered, cables and chains inside the clock hummed and jerked with each passing movement and disturbed the bell that lay in the recesses of the encased clock. I did not realize the meaning nor the significance the clock represented that fall, but a few years later I came to understand it all too well.
During the summer of 2001, my Grandfather passed away in his beloved two-story house. As I attended his funeral, I reminisced on the times I had spent with him. How meaningless life was; how very sad it was that life was something measured by the pendulum of death in that old worn clock that stood in the hallways of the age worn house. At that moment, I realized that the unknown, unfathomable, undefined, illusive, and intangible, was what measured our present, past, and future; but it was real. Was this how it would end? The unwound clock would stop, never to move again; this was how we would die, grasping the sides of the clock, fighting against this uncontrollable force that only eternity could slay. In the end, would those hands point and beckon to me also and sweep me off to the eternity that awaits us all?
My Grandfather’s things were sold the day after the funeral. With them, also went the Grandfather clock. When the auctioneers came to take it away, I found myself reluctant to see it go. My Grandfather had loved that clock and cared for it almost as much as his own life. Before they took it away, I spent some time tracing the curves along the burgundy sides and the bronze pendulum once again before seeing it carried off onto a truck.
That summer I realized the impermanence of my existence through the Grandfather clock, the embodiment of time, life, and death. I learned that someday the grandfather clock that ticks in the life of every person that has lived, would live, and lives now, will end.



Joined December 2007

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