At this time of year, teachers are feted with chocolate and varieties of teas and mugs and coffees. Occasionally there are home-baked cookies and perhaps a book or two. But this year, I received the best gift ever—an hourglass. Yes. An hourglass.
Actually, it’s not really an hourglass. We timed it. It’s a 57 minute glass, but close enough. It’s not quite a timer or an alarm clock. There are no bells or gongs to alert. It’s a quiet marker of time. Oh I think I’ll read for an hour. Oh look I’ve gone over. or Oh I think I’ll clean my desk. Oh look I have time left. I find myself making sure the hourglass is depositing its sand whenever I start a new task.
It’s endlessly fascinating to watch as well. The vortex in the upper half as it forms and drifts and the piles at the bottom as they collect and spill are visually intriguing and never the same.
I’m not sure what the message of this gift is–“Your days are numbered” or “Tick, Tock, Ms. Y. Shouldn’t you be retiring soon?” (In two and half years, thank you.) But this visual, tangible recording of time has somehow made the amorphous and vague yet inexorable march of time, more accessible, more physically determinate. The abstract has become concrete.
Now the soap opera of my life unfolds, “like sands through an hourglass,” I mean, 57 minute glass.