How often do you wind the clock?

Today is February 9 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you wind the clock?”


Elwyn Brooks White, generally known as E.B. White, was an American writer. For more than fifty years, he was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He was also a co-author of the English language style guide The Elements of Style. In addition, he wrote books for children, including Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte's Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). In a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers, Charlotte's Web came in first in their poll of the top one hundred children's novels.


He was also responsible for writing hundreds of wonderful letters. Here is one example. In March of 1973, White wrote the following perfectly formed reply to a Mr. Nadeau, who sought White's opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race.


“Dear Mr. Nadeau:


As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.


Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.


Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”


As you navigate the chaos today, remember White’s phrase ‘wind the clock for tomorrow is another day.’