For Valentine’s Day, I got my wife a clock. It’s not much of a clock, just a movement and a clock face; in fact, I had to replace the movement as a part was missing. But I didn’t get the clock for the movement (it was an inexpensive movement anyway); I got the clock for the clock face itself. There are no numbers; instead, it shows the circle of fifths. For those who are not musically inclined, the circle of fifths shows each key, a perfect fifth apart. Once you go twelve fifths, you are back where you started. This makes it a perfect fit for a clock; twelve keys map to twelve hours. The time, by this clock, is a quarter-of-C or half-past-A-flat.
This clock replaces one in the dining room that belonged to my grandmother. This older clock has been moved upstairs to hang on the wall in my project room. It is a clock from a very specific time period; after battery power was common, but before the quartz clock movements were common. It uses a pendulum to keep time, and the pendulum needs to be correctly adjusted or else the clock will run fast or slow. But it does not need to be wound; the battery provides the power to keep the pendulum moving. Most modern battery-powered pendulum clocks have the pendulum there just for show; the quartz movement is what keeps time. Not so in this clock.
The clock doesn’t really tie into anything in the news. I don’t really have anything this week. Too many news stories, too many half-written ideas. From music to communication to confirmation bias, I’ve started quite a few thoughts. Perhaps a few of them will be polished enough to see the light of day. Perhaps I will scrap them all. But this week, I am tired.
And that, in itself, is as much of a problem as anything else that is going on the the world today. With the constant stream of news stories, there is simply too much going on. I could write an entire post about Mr. Trump’s out-of-this-world news conference last week. But that is a week old news; we’ve moved past that. Both cable news and late-night TV hosts have dissected and discussed that to the point where anything I can add would seem too little, too late.
There’s stories of infighting within this administration and stories of how the administration is planning the self-desctuction of various government agencies and stories of possible ethics violations. There’s once again stories of Mr. Trump’s greatly exaggerating the crowd at one of his events. There’s stories of Mr. Trump back on the campaign trail and of a plan to use warfarin to fight feral hogs in Texas. There’s stories of angry protesters at town hall meetings and stories of fighting feral cats.
In short, there’s a lot of stories happening now. It can be exhausting trying to keep up with them.
But in a larger sense, I don’t have to. Not everything needs to be gut-check reporting. Thoughts and ideas take time to coalesce; the more time and thought that is put into something, the better the end result. To think that I – or anyone – needs to always respond immediately is short-sighted; the stories are constantly evolving, and each story tells a larger one in the end. It is worthwhile, then, to step back and take more time to evaluate the story. Protecting the welcoming country that I know from the people who would make it into something where people who think or act differently are not welcome is not a sprint. Nor is it something that someone can do by one’s own self.
In the 1990s, during the Bill Clinton presidency, Rush Limbaugh styled every day of his syndicated radio talk show as a special report: “America Held Hostage.” This is not someone who was sprinting; this was a long-distance trek. For eight years, Limbaugh held to this stylization. If you disagree with the current presidential administration, it behooves you, too, to hold to your ideals and not give up. This is that long-distance trek. But you also need to take care of yourself.
Go outside. If it is cold, bundle up. If not, enjoy the weather. Stop and smell the flowers. Paint, or take photographs, or sing, or enjoy some hobby. Don’t think that the burden of the world is on your shoulders alone. I myself will go for a walk and catch some Pokemon in the Pokemon Go app. I will think some more about what is going on in the world, in the nation, and in my own home town, and I will certainly write about it some more.
Perhaps the clock is more relevant than I know. It stopped running for a while, but it just needed a recharged battery. It is sitting here over my shoulder tick-tocking away. Actually, it ticks with a bit of a limp; it actually goes tick-ta-tock, but still keeps good time. Learn a lesson from this clock; recharge your batteries when you need to, and even if you have a limp you are still useful.