Why? I Just Wonder, Why?

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.

Sundial with missing part Glenside 10-15 small

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.

Sundial - Grim Reaper - 10-15 small

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?


About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

4 responses to “Why? I Just Wonder, Why?

  1. I rather like the Grim Reaper feature of the sundial precisely because I like that juxtaposition between life and death. The removal of the gnomon is sad. Britain can be a bit Health and Safety crazy to the nth degree too but my kids have played around plenty of intact sundials. Perhaps it was damaged and never replaced rather than being hacked at for fear of impaling a child.

    • I thought this monument was interesting because so many sundials feature the “counting only the happy hours” aspect of things. This one is so worn, and really kind of just stuck out in the yard of the pool, I wonder if it were somewhere else and moved later on. The gnomen, I think it was removed, as it doesn’t look ragged, if you know what I mean, but it could have gone for any reason, even wearing out, since it was more exposed to the weather. This monument really is forgotten in plain sight – people just kind of move around it and don’t look, and I think the person memorialized died decades ago, so no one even remembers him. Kind of an orphan now, it is, and I felt a little sad about the lesson it gave in the passing of time.

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