One of the best things about where we live in Vienna is that we get to hear church bells ring every day. They ring at noon and 5:45 p.m. every day, and then on the weekends they also ring just before 9:30 in the morning. (I find the times themselves a little random, but I’m guessing it has something to do with church, and if I actually went, I’d probably know.)
We are within hearing distance of at least three sets of bells, maybe more — I’m not even sure which ones I’m hearing at which times. I absolutely love to hear them, and I’ve already grown accustomed to telling the time by them. The boys are usually down for their naps by the time the noon bells ring, and Dan gets home right after the bells ring in the evening. On the weekends, if I hear the morning bells and I haven’t gotten myself in gear to get some things done, I’m probably running late.
Some days, my routine with the kids feels so familiar, it’s actually easy to forget how far from home I am. No matter how wrapped up I get in my day, I hear the bells and I stop what I’m doing for a moment to listen. Although I’m used to hearing them, I don’t take them for granted (yet). They’re magical to me: anachronistic and yet so perfectly appropriate, so much of Vienna. It’s like snow on Christmas — it belongs, but its belonging doesn’t diminish your delight when you find it.