Is #bellringing the pursuit of aimless joy?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I was reading an article about how a woman and her child walked round and round in circles in the deep snow like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.  It had no purpose, barely counted as exercise and once more snow fell they’d do it all again.  Sometimes for over an hour.  #bellringing can be a bit like that.  We can go ringing, be it practice night, a quarter peal or peal attempt, a training day or service ringing.  Sometimes #bellringing can have no real purpose but we do it anyway.  When the child was asked why she was trudging in circles in the snow for ages, seemingly pointlessly, her simple answer was because it’s fun. #bellringing can be like that too!

Ask people who make sand sculptures, or balance stones, why they do that when they know their efforts will be lost to the elements, and they’ll tell you that it helps them shed stress, entertain others and in some cases “mess with people’s heads”.  #bellringing can be like that too! Once we’ve rung our bells, the sound is lost for ever (unless you’ve recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube). It was transitory; there and now gone.  But we do it for the fleeting joy of the activity itself.

We can spend a lot of time obsessing over personal goals and problems, feeling the weight of expectation and the fears that go with them.  #bellringing can trick us into take a break from all of that.  I often consider it therapy after a bad day at the office.  To be able to do something physical, that requires my full attention, and stretches my brain.  It can become a meditation, a moment to be in the present.  When we ring with others we can feel that we are part of something bigger but it’s equally as transient as our few moments or hours of #bellringing itself.

When we think of #bellringing vanishing into the larger scheme of space and time, along with any method mistakes we may make, we needn’t be afraid to try a new bell, a new method, have a go at conducting something for the first time.  In the few moments that follow, it becomes ephemeral and consigned to history.


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