Some weeks back, I foolishly asked for (and received) a sixty-year-old cuckoo clock because I thought it was whimsical and fun to have around the house. I quickly found out that I have to yank on its chains every single day just to keep the bird alive. I didn’t know clocks had chains that had to be pulled on every day. Every time piece I have ever owned has always been battery-operated.
A couple of days ago, I forgot to yank its chains and the weights landed haphazardly on the floor, rendering the time piece useless, silencing the bird and its heart. The house seemed eerily silent save for the low droning hum of the refrigerator and the barely audible hiss of the various computers scattered throughout the house. Those sounds, however, were electronic by nature. They seemed metallic and unnatural, a stark digital contrast against that overwhelming analogue cog-and-gear type of mechanical sound that was at once continuously variable, yet at the same time, singularly monotonic.
By introducing the cuckoo clock into my home, I had somehow incorporated that tic-toc sound into the heartbeat of the house, adding to it, yet another layer of life. Lacking the rhythmic ticking, the house seemed almost…dead. I had to quickly resuscitate the clock, restoring its time-keeping capability and its comforting rhythmic sound.
Such is the life of a person with a cuckoo clock. We are constantly yanking on the chains.
One thought on “Yanking the Chains”
I inherited a mantel clock from my great, great aunt. Although it’s not a cuckoo, and I don’t have to yank its chain, the house is too quiet when its mechanical ticking and hourly chime are silenced by our failure to wind her back up.