Then I began to laugh. Of course! The times when the bells don’t ring, tell their own tale. And this tale, too, is about being alive.
Sometimes being alive means hibernating in the quiet of the bell tower keep. Sometimes being alive means rest and restoration. Sometimes being alive means embracing the silence between rings—the rest at the end of a musical phrase, the caesura of the poem. Such silences are about being alive, too.
In my twenties, I read a quote by Joseph Campbell that puzzled me greatly. “The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: ‘yea’ to it all.” I have grown up enough to understand this. For the bells ring, do they not, for glad celebrations, for divine occasions, for death, for catastrophe, for the New Year. The bells ring for “it all.” All of life.
Yes, I know this is paradoxical: There are silences between bell rings. And those silences are the bell ringing. Both statements are true.
And so this week, I haven't been utterly bereft of ringing after all. So send me good wishes. Think of me--quiet in the keep, learning to hear bells ring in the great silences.
LORE OF THE BELL
Even in the great silences,
bells are ringing.
7:30 BELLS is posted every Tuesday at 10:30 AM PST.
7:30 BELLS Guest Posts are posted on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on March 11 for a guest post by author Frances O'Roark Dowell.