Walking to a doctor’s appointment a week or so ago, I examined this sundial, set in the front yard of our township swimming pool. I’ve seen it before, but I never took a closer look.
It’s a memorial to a township commissioner of long ago – the park where the pool is situated is named for him. There’s a short tribute to him carved on the side of the pedestal. So far, well and good, although I see the gnomon, the part of the sundial that casts the shadow, is missing. I think it was considered too dangerous with the kids around, maybe wanting to climb on the monument.
So the sundial cannot tell time or pass the hours as it was meant to do. I was sorry about that.
Next, I noticed a twist to this nice little story. I believe that is a representation of the Grim Reaper on the face of the sundial.
While I certainly understand the idea of time passing and then death comes for us all, it seems a bit – grim – to have it on a sundial commemorating the life of someone special to our township. And then there is the contrast with the happy sunny nature of the swimming pool, and the kids, and the summery feeling of the place. And, if I remember right, this is very close to where the ice cream truck pulls up every hour on the hour, and the kids stream out to buy treats during the adult swim time. Not a very dignified location, when you think about it.
Plus, the sundial is no longer telling time. The Grim Reaper looks a little peeved.
Hmmm. Sometimes there are just too many strange juxtapositions in life for it not to mean something, but what?