Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bird Calls

We have this clock at our house, a gift from a former neighbor. You've seen (or heard) these clocks before - at each hour the clock sings with various bird calls.

Now I have never been much of a fan of this clock which hangs in our kitchen. For one thing, it's really nothing to look at. For another thing, we have lots of clocks around here - 3 others in the kitchen alone - so we really don't need it.

Yet we've had it for years and it's become an integrated part of our lives. When the robin sings it's really, really time for everyone to be out of bed in the morning. The hoot owl tells me that it's either time for lunch or it's way past my bedtime. The canada goose honks to tell me it's suppertime (or time to get serious about getting supper on the table). And so it goes. The calls of the various birds call me to attention for different tasks throughout the day.

Most notable at our house is the call of the cardinal, who sings at 3:00. No matter what is happening in our house, when the cardinal sings at 3, the dog runs to the front window and, looking out, stares up the street waiting expectantly for the boys to come home from school. And he stands there staring until they are visible - once he sees them, his tail starts to wag. The closer they get to the front door, the more fervent the wagging, until they come in the front door and cannot really get into the house because the dog pretty much fills the entire entry (a fact which can be verified by anyone who has been a guest in our house) wagging and turning circles and licking their hands.

Even though I have never cared all that much for this clock (it nags at me!), it and the dog's response to it are a good metaphor for me of this time of the church year. The mockingbird calls and the church knows that it is Sunday of the Prodigal Son, the chickadee chirps and the church knows that it is Sunday of the Last Judgement, and then the cardinal calls and it is Forgiveness Sunday, the beginning of Lent. And we, too, go to the window and look out, staring up the street and waiting in anticipation for what we know is coming soon.

The trick for me is learning to use wisely those moments spent staring out the window. There is much work to be done in those few important moments.


s-p said...

Good post, thanks. We also have that clock and I have a Three Stooges clock....I guess if I substituted the Stooges for your "Bird calls" and reposted the blog it just wouldn't quite be the same. :)

-C said...

A 3 Stooges clock might be a helpful reminder for me of my (at least hourly) need for a good slap on the back of the head.

Dixie said...

LOL! We have a clock almost exactly like this...but different birds in different our cardinal is at 9:00 instead of 3:00.

My husband has been a clock guy since day one. I would imagine we have about 80 clocks around our house. Not all of them are ticking at the same time but a good 20 or so are. Because of my husband's love for clocks he has been on the receiving end of clock gifts...the bird clock was one of those...from my dear departed mother.

I'll never forget the time I was on the telephone having a conversation with her and the clock hit the hour and the bird started squawking and my mother complained "What is that racket!" I told her it was her Christmas gift to my husband...and she apologized...not for the complaint but for giving such a gift!!!

Now I will always cherish this clock.