Ten minutes to eight. What possibly could have happened to stop all the clocks at the very same instant? Was this mystery the cause for them all running away?
Granddad had left the sitting room and had made his way into the kitchen. I followed. Copper pans hanging from the ceiling, above a massive chopping block that served as the kitchen table. A green tea kettle on the cast iron stove, a rack of knives of every size, a row of glass canisters all in their proper order, large to small, five in all. On three walls, country style cabinets with glass doors revealing the full stock of dishes and kitchen stuffs, in the windows, lace curtains with bright yellow bows, tucked within all this was a birdhouse clock with bluebirds above the dial and the dial read "ten minutes to eight."
There is something quite unnerving about being in the midst of one second time. There should be the next tick of the clock; there should be the something next, the logical fulfillment of the present expectation. Bt when there is none of this, you find yourself questioning whether it is allowable to breathe your next breath, to think your next thought, to take your next step.
In that suspended moment after the tenth minute before the hour of eight, I was seized with a shuddering thought ... is this how timelessness feels, is this the experience of eternity, when forever makes each second a forever moment in itself?
"God, I pray that in the midst of the mists of forever, we lose not the experience of time passing, the experience of young growing older."
Then, as if acting as a divinely placed answer, my grandfather placed his hand upon my shoulder. If felt as if God had spoken through his touch, "Time will always be for you as it has always been for me. We will all grow old together, forever."
My breath returned; I could hear breath. My heartbeat returned, I could feel it beat. My life returned; I could sense it flow through me.
Then all the clocks began to tick and the sounds of a house began to rise and voices could be heard approaching down the drive.
"They have returned, young one," my grandfather as he turned to meet them at the door.
"Why those who will meet us here. The pathfinders for the days we are to live."
I did not understand. But we went out to meet them, and they were many dressed as were the portraits hanging on the walls.