Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Have you heard the chimes at midnight?

Or any other time?

Now you can. For the first time in goodness knows how long (Ian, Stewart, battle it out amongst yourselves) the chimes are ringing at St Catherine's. Every quarter of the hour. They are beautiful.

Not since I lived in Merton College have I lived somewhere with the comforting sound of bells punctuating the regular passing of time, now just four notes, next the eight, now twelve and then sixteen as the hour prepares to strike. Pontypridd is not Oxford, it's fair to say; but as, at last, I have finally lived somewhere longer than I did in that golden Cotswold city, and love to live here, I find in the turning of this time a constant ringing reminder of what was, as what is resounds though the ether and inexorably rolls on into what will be.

Time. The strangest, most ephemeral of God's gifts. To mark its passing with a metronome is to catch moonbeams in tupperware. And yet the rhythmic sound of the eternally untouchable is ethereally lovely, and achingly glorious.

Though whether the neighbours agree at 3.45AM remains to be seen...

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