Clock Towers and Church Bells

 

I live in a small town, and I mean small. The population hovers around 1000 people. It was a challenge to learn to live here, to have my neighbours know exactly who I am, while I could barely remember their names. But I have come to love it. I love how people do know me, that I can stop on the sidewalk and chat with a whole assortment of interesting individuals.

I also love the old-time feel of this village. The Canada Post building still has its original clock tower, and in recent years the clock was restored to chime every half hour. At the top of the hour, it chimes the number of hours, and at the half-hour mark, it chimes once. I live close enough that I can hear it clearly when I am outside, or when my windows are open.

I love that when I am sweating in the garden I can listen for the number of chimes to know how much time I have spent at it. I love that I can tell my road-hockey-playing son to come home for supper when the clock chimes five. And I even like it on the nights when I am lying in bed, awake, and can hear what time it is. This is especially satisfying when I am just waking up from sleeping-in!

It is such a pleasant, regular sound, I marvel at those who object to such things. So many towns and cities across this nation have silent chimes and bells. What a waste. Historically, bells and chimes were very expensive, and were often considered the crowning piece of a new structure.

The church I attend has a very high bell tower with its original bell. It is rung every Sunday morning, as pigeons may flutter overhead (much to the caretaker’s dismay). Anyone may help ring the bell, to pull the cord a few times before the bell gains enough momentum for the clapper to hit the inside of it, and then to continue pulling as the music peals out. A cheerful sound, calling us to worship.

Before I moved here, I never thought about how sound in a small town can add such richness to life.  In a place where the population is only 1000, it is generally pretty quiet. So quiet that I can clearly hear clock towers and church bells.

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