I have heard stories, I have seen in movies, I have read in books where the chimes of church bells would send people home because the work day was done, would send children home because that was the appointed time in which one must head home. The church bells were a reliable way to tell time. They were in small towns, they would ring in the cities, they were a familiar tune which meant something to people.
When was the last time you heard church bells ring? Do the churches you attend or see even have them anymore?
When I am sitting at my grandmother’s house and hear those faint first few notes escape from the bells I can’t resist going outside to hear them more clearly. You see, I used to live in this small town; it’s so small I don’t know if you could even call it a town. Those bells are a soothing sound, they are familiar, they are calming, they are beautiful notes that float through the air, and I love the simple elegance of it.
Today, when we need to know the time we don’t look at a clock, we pull out our phones. When was the last time you had to tell time on an analog clock? Everything is digital now. So many things have been lost as time has gone on, so many of the little things that made small towns, small towns. Things that connected everyone and that everyone knew was a certainty.
What I would like is for every church to ring their bells, long tunes to show the “important” hours and short bongs counting out each of the others. Is that so much to ask?
While we are at it, what about those refreshing drinks from a hose that were little blessings on a hot day? When was the last time you did that, or were allowed to do that? Fresh from the ground well water, water that tastes a little earthy. Or carrots right from the garden that still have a bit of dirt in the cracks? That lifestyle is one that built character, that caused those who lived in it to slow down, and it even boosted some immune systems.
Take me back to where the church bells ring, where the hose water is refreshing, and to a time when neighbours watched out for one another. That is where I would like to be.