Adam looked at the ground as he spoke, as if the dates were all inscribed in the sidewalk. “Mad as – insert “I” here, Pilgrim – Am, I’m not so mad not to see something downright cosmic about the 6th of September. Hell, forget about my birthday, and the fact that is the day in 1781 that Benedict Arnold burned New London to the ground. Way crazier shit has been drawn to that date like moths to a flame: in 1492 just before Columbus sailed the (Atlantic) ocean blue, he set sail September 6 from the Canaries; in 1620, the Pilgrims cast off from Plymouth aboard the Mayflower on that day; eight years to the day later, the Puritans settled in Salem; and in 1847, Henry Thoreau left Walden Pond to move in with the Emersons.”
Noticing the Clock
"You know, Dr. Dann, it’s not about when the clock stopped. It’s about when people stopped noticing.”
Always on the Verge
The Pilgrim had noticed something very odd upon coming to New London. Over and over, each person to whom he would express his delight at the beauty and conviviality of the tiny town, would reply: “Oh New London’s always been on the verge, always about to become a great thing, but it never happens!” He wondered if the clock had stopped when people started speaking this sad assessment of the town. The stopped clock seemed like a kind of spell, the sort that turned up in fairytales and folk legends. It struck him that in a fairytale, a character like himself – some Fool Fortunatus, or Till Eulenspiegel – would surely decide that the only way to break the melancholy spell over the tiny town would be to get the clock running again.