It was always unclear to me, as a child, what was “clockwise” and what was “counterclockwise”. What did kitchen counters have to do with clocks? And what made them so wise? Was the face of the clock looking at us looking at it? Watching a movie about tornadoes once, my dad said that the twister was chasing the storm-chasers. Was the twister alive? Was it thinking and moving with a spirit of its own? Was it spinning clockwise or counterclockwise? What happened to linear clock-time inside a circular tornado? If you are looking down on a circle from above, like God, the clock-hands move clockwise. But what if you were just a tiny being like a child, an ant on the face of earth, flat to the ground, looking up through the surface of the clock? The whole sky above. The sky grows dark with tornadoes as the clock spins in the opposite direction. Widdershins. Counter-clockwise.
Time was always doing these things; it was “up” –up where? “Running out” –out where? “Of the essence” –the scent of time. I lay beneath that clock of mystery, not understanding how adults could not understand that if you stand under the clock, looking up, the hands of time move the other way. The perception of time was literally dependent on how you were looking at it. Where you stand. When you are very small you are not sure where you stand. You may find yourself standing underneath a great circle, looking up through a hole in the heavens out of which opens great storms of tornadoes, rescued only by God’s hands moving in both directions at once. They were trying to teach me how to tell time. I wanted to tell time what I thought of it.