Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Save the Bells!!!

It is a gorgeous day here in MI. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and the three oldest hippie descendants have been outside playing for two hours. A perfect late winter day. I have the relieved feeling that I have survived another winter. Whatever old man winter throws my way from here on out, its just temporary. Spring is on its way.
I think she is beautiful. But I'm biased.=)
Meres is helping her mama bake a cake. I snagged the recipe on Pinterest. Suffice it to say, mine looks nowhere near as nice as the pinterest beauty. But it won the taste test. Its a moist chocolate cake with Italian meringue buttercream. And it is amazing. Plus, I ad-libbed and added a ganache drip over the top layer. It reminds me of a Meijer Chocolate Drip cake, only much better. And you know all the serious photos of Meres? From her glaring at the nasty flash? Well, today she was tipping her head to look around the flash. She is too smart for her britches.

Loving the ganache. She gets that from her mama.=)

Leaning tower of caka. But, oh so delicious!
So, I was running today. Its Tuesday. Plus I couldn't pass up the awesome weather. And as I was nearing my turn around point, I heard church bells. There is a big, old Catholic church near the zoo, and its bells were tolling the hour. And the thought that went through me head was how you don't hear that sound much anymore. It is such a beautiful sound. Stirring and uplifting to the soul. Yet church bells are going the way of the Dodo bird. They're on their way out. New churches no longer build belfries. It's too old fashioned. People want modern buildings. They'd rather have high tech light, sound, and projector systems.

And it is just too bad. Rather sad actually.

Church bells used to play an integral part in town life. They would be rung to call people to church. They would be rung to announce good news, like births and weddings. They would also be rung to announce bad news, like deaths and plagues. Bells would be rung once for every year of a person's life at their death. Their sound could be a warning of enemy invasion. They would be rung simply to call people together-church or not. They helped the common people keep track of time before time pieces were affordable.

Most bells were massive, gorgeous affairs, giving out rich sounds, tuned harmoniously by the founder. Church bells date to the early Middle Ages, but bells have been cast since time immemorial.  The oldest church bell in the world is one donated by Despot Alexius Slav to the metropolitan church in Melnik, Bulgaria, and dated to 1211-1216. It is now kept at the National Museum of History in Sofia. In World War II in Great Britain, all church bells were silenced, to ring only to inform of an invasion by enemy troops.

If you've read Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek, you've heard the story of how Pa gave his boot money to the church bell fund. His boots were in horrible condition, but he thought it was more important for their town to have a bell, than for himself to have new boots. Pa knew they would be able to hear the bells at their house a couple miles away from town. It was worth it.

And, how about the Liberty Bell? It tolled on July 8, 1776, to gather the citizens of Philadelphia together for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Now, that was some good news to ring out!

I'm thinking of the ending scene in one of my favorite Disney movies, Cinderella. Its her wedding, and multiple bells are chiming. I'd recognize that certain Cinderella chime anywhere. "No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true. The End."=)

But, now we have smart phones, Face Book, email, and twitter to keep us informed of happenings. We don't need bells to help us keep time. We all have multiple watches and clocks. And, if you are lucky, you can set your ring tone or alarm to "church bells". (Like Mr. Hippie did at 5:45 this morning.) I truly hope that our experience of church bell ringing doesn't digress just to that. I hope that churches will keep their bells, and keep using them. I hope my children and grandchildren can grow up hearing this special sound. I doubt bells are in danger of extinction, but I hope that many of my runs this year, have the distinction of the caroling of bells.

After all,
A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it, A song's not a song 'til you sing it, 
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, Love isn't love 'til you give it away! 
-Oscar Hammerstein II