We Hardly Pay Time Its Due

‘Carthusians mark time not by decades, years, or days,’ explains the writer Nancy Klein. ‘Their time is out of time, directed… by the tolling of the immense church bell… in measured instants of the Latin ‘now’: nunc, nunc, nunc. For the monk, there is no future and no past, merely a series of ‘nows’ (p. 215)

And now I find myself a world away in a basement too, with a window letting out on to mountains and the bells of a monastery nearby and the monks – if I could hear them – chanting their morning prayers. We make a circle of our life and never know it. We hardly pay time its due. The bells here are little different from those in Dharamsala, or the bells that hung from the necks of my goats. Each is a call to prayer, the tongue of the bell saying nunc, nunc, nunc. Does it matter the bell one chooses? (p. 227)

— Brad Kessler, Goat Song


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