Metronomes, Groundhogs, and Epistemology

Perpetual motion does not exist. I know that. I have known that for a very long time. With that disclaimer, let me paint a scene for you…


Late afternoon, one sunny winter day, indirect sunlight softly lights the tiny apartment where our heroine sits on the bed, digging through a half-forgotten little box of music gadgets. Looking for what, I couldn’t say. Just looking. She discovers a little black box with a slender, weighted silver wand tucked inside it.


“Oh, hey! I forgot I had a metronome! Nifty!” she exclaims, jumping up to grab her guitar (on which she has lately been agonizingly learning and playing scales) and find an even surface to set the metronome on. “This will really help me push myself!”


Guitar tuned, fingers warmed, she frees the little wand and adjusts the tempo to something not much above andante and begins practicing scales and scale-based exercises merrily in rhythm with the tick tick tick of the cheerful little tocker. After success with C and G and miserable failure with F, the would-be musician jumps up to answer the scream of the kettle, lately come to a boil. She leaves the metronome a-ticking as she sets her tea to steep and, like a mouse with a cookie, pauses to wash the dishes in the sink while she waits.


Five minutes, ten minutes later she returns to the desk and picks up her guitar. The metronome has stopped. She moves the slider closer to andante, in hopes of surviving the F-scale and gives the wand a little push. Tick, tick, tick. Tick.. tick… tick….. tick……. tick……….. tick.


Hmm,” she thinks to herself. “I wonder if it can’t keep a tempo at that slow pace?” She adjusts the weight back to where she had it and gives it a push, but Tick, tick, tick. Tick.. tick… tick….. tick……. tick……….. tick. “That’s weird. It was just working.”


She pushes the weight up to allegro, giving the wand a vigorous push this time, to no avail. She is about to curse the metronome for the fickle bit of clockwork it is when she notices a little hole in the side and suddenly has a flash of thought, a distant memory of a little key that stored in the front of the metronome and could be popped out and used to wind the little box up…


The key is gone, completely lost, and the player sighs, deflated to realize her playing is not the only thing that’s a little slow. Not that I would know, really, how she felt. I mean, I told you already—I know there’s no such thing as perpetual motion.


I also happen to know that spring is, in fact, really here. How do I know? Simple: Groundhogs are not meteorologists.

2 thoughts on “Metronomes, Groundhogs, and Epistemology

  1. Oh, Melissa. I love your journal entries. You are really clever with words and thoughts. It is like leaving a wonderful piece of chocolate cake in front of me……I can/will never resist. So with that said:
    1) Does the search for knowledge keep us in perpetual motion?
    2) Does knowledge wind down over time and without attention?
    3) Does the groundhog really have knowledge or is instinct knowledge?
    I could go on but, I have a conference to go to today….looking for more information… that knowledge:) Love you Brenda


  2. Oh, Melissa
    I had a great, clever comment that I wrote in response to this early this morning. But, we were in a hurry to go to a conference (to gain more “knowledge”) So, I forgot to hit the send command. I guess it all goes to prove that perpetual motion is non-conducive to the expression of knowledge, and minimally helpful in the attainment). As for the groundhog….does he come out to attain…..or express??? Who knows. Love ya Brenda (Now, hit the button, Brenda)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.