Though the title line is referring to “the Cross of Christ [in which] I glory” the reference to time – wrecks or no – is both poetic and evocative enough to be reflective of the cycles of seasons and rounds of the year within our bell tower. To begin with, this most recent time of year gratefully calls up chronological time, being that the bell tower construction and bell installations were completed in July / August 2009. Ringing lessons began right away, giving just enough time for a band of home ringers to pull ropes safely at the first public ringing on the feast of St. Michael and all Angels, Sept. 29th. These dates and events are recalled each year, and particularly this year as we approach the 10th anniversary.
Or in sharing in summer bounty at the homes of friends who come ring with us when here on the Cape.
The other inescapable facet of time in change-ringing comes is that as soon as one can ring safely and advances to ringing in a circle of other ringers, from that point on one is essentially counting and clocking for each pull. It is only one of the many mental/physical elements in ringing, all of which have to be learned and developed, but for good ringing, it is constant and inexorable.
The last “towering” thought does examine the “wrecks of time.” By no means unique to bell-ringing, but the physical, mental, and above all emotional demands and requirements over the long haul is always going to assure a long and distinguished list of former bell ringers. It’s true in every tower. Yet to those who by some alchemy (grace?) of time and circumstance manage to persevere, the “bane and blessing, pain and pleasure” do bring a richness both for themselves and for the many listeners.