In Which it is Always Ten Minutes Before Two

We have a clock in our cottage in Rockport. It is a beautiful, handcrafted Provence style clock in blues and yellows;a perfect signature piece for the cottage. We purchased it a couple of years ago on a whim and a sale and have no regrets.

When on display in shops, clocks are often shown with the short hand pointed at the two and the long hand pointed at the ten. I’ve been told this is how you show a clock to its best advantage. (Who knew?) Since this was a battery operated clock, and unwilling to be stuck like a child on Christmas morning who longs to use a toy only to realize his parents have forgotten to buy batteries, we stopped and purchased a pack of AA batteries – Duracell for good measure.

When we arrived back to the cottage and I was ready to place it on that perfect spot on the wall, my husband and I looked at each other and made a decision: we would never put a battery in this clock. The time on this clock would never move. In the cottage in Rockport it would forever be ten minutes until two in the afternoon.

And so it has stayed. We have had guests come and go who have longed to put batteries in our clock, but we won’t let them. In a world filled with demands and stresses, productivity and deadlines, we have a place, a space where time stops. We will forever be at ten minutes before two.

It’s summer now, not the official summer that comes with solstice and a June 20th date, but the practical summer that begins on Memorial Day in the United States. Every day we have a little more time as it stays lighter longer. And in summer we need time to stop a bit, need life to slow down, need to take walks on beaches and stay up late on porches. I am so grateful to have a place this summer where it’s always ten minutes before two in the afternoon, where time stops and life happens; where we are given the grace of slowing down.

Do you have a place where time stops? Where you can relax so well that time no longer dictates your life? Would love to hear about it in the comment section.

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12 thoughts on “In Which it is Always Ten Minutes Before Two

  1. Over a year later I am reading this Marilyn. For us time stopped on the day you wrote this – June 10, 2012 when Dad said his last understandable words to us all. He didn’t leave us til June 12, but time really stopped on June 10. Dad and I both had such a place in our lives – other family members too, but mostly for Dad and I, our favourite place to be was at “the cottage”. Property my grandfather had purchased in 1909 and part of it is still owned by a family member. We got there 2 weeks ago for a few hours. Mom will be headed there this weekend for a few days. That was where time stopped for me and literally where I was “rooted” the title of your piece for today. Anywhere else there is too much to do and too little time. At the cottage things were not as pressing and mostly I could relax. I always said I didn’t care about the weather as long as I was at the cottage. I got to be there for most of my 59 summers. We used to drive across Canada or the US form Victoria BC to spend our vacation at “the cottage” in Fenelon Falls Ontario. My mother was there since she was born, my father since he was a boy and my parents met there. All of my siblings were taken there as babies too. In fact for each of us, our first summer alive was spent at the cottage – even though we were both in different cities and provinces. Thanks for this walk down memory lane and vignettes of calm, beauty and childhood wonder.

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  2. too bad i can’t attach fotos here, but that’s what basata is for us — reed huts on a white sandy beach between the beatiful, bare mountains of the sinai desert and the incredible azure of the red sea, on the east side of the sinai peninsula here in egypt. marie comes in tuesday night and that’s where we head early weds. morning — without our watches!

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    1. Oh I love this – I want to go there with you…maybe next time I come to Egypt?? Send pictures by email and I will put them up. In all those years, we never got to Basata.

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    1. It is a reminder to me of the need to slow down and relax. Something I find incredibly hard to do at times. I’ve never thought of myself as a type A personality but in recent years….! I hope to get you to the place where it is always ten minutes before two this summer!

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  3. Marilyn, this is beautiful. In Pakistan my place where time stopped was Hawkes Bay. But before that it was the CMS beach hut at Sandspit – our first time at the beach in Pakistan. You were just 2 and had the sweetest orange floral bathing suit with a little cape to keep your shoulders from getting sunburned. I think it was a hand-me-down from Cindy Webster. My watch was in the shop getting fixed. We ate lunch when the sun was high overhead, supper before it got dark. No electricity, just candles and kerosene lamps. The floor had cracks between the boards, and I just swept the crumbs and sand down through. That was probably the best week of vacation ever for me.
    I am so glad you and Cliff have your Cottage!
    And I’m surprised that your Dad has not put batteries in that clock for you! You know what a fixer-upper he is.

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    1. I have the best memories of those weeks at the beach. Where you would read to us by pressure lantern and we would fall asleep never even thinking of the time; long walks, that fox game dad had us play….such a respite. Thanks for the great reminders!

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