On Call Bell Ringer

P1010189 (2)

May 5th

They let me into their lives.  I awoke with the church bells ringing as they did.  They rang in the morning, at noon, and at night.  And depending on the village, morning and night times varied.  What I found amazing was the job of the bell ringer.  This is still done by one person, who rises in the morning to ring the bells, oh somewhere between 7 and 8 am, always very close to noon for the mid-day ringing and around 730 or 8 pm for the last bells of the day.  This one person does this job 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  I don’t know what they do if they’re sick – one villager told me they don’t get sick – and the bells always ring.  I can’t imagine a job like that.  Having to be on call basically all the time.  And these bell ringers have been doing it for 20 years.  One little old woman in the Homorod Valley had been the bell ringer for 40 years.  These are their lives and they are content.

How different their lives are here.  I envy them.  They really do watch the cows come home.   You can’t miss them actually, they completely block the road.  8 wheelers remain stopped in the road until the cows complete their journey.  I got to milk a cow tonight.  Well it was an attempt.  A tiny stream came out and compared to the teenager whose job it was I guess to do this nightly, it was a pittance.  He filled a large bucket in 2 minutes!  You need strength not only of pull but of pressure, and I was sadly lacking in this respect.  I will never be a cow milker.  🙂

I also got to see the Szekely gates.  There is a place where various villages have placed a memorial gate – huge 10 feet tall gates with a door to one side – in memorial to King Orban Balazs I think.  My tour is all a blur now and my notes a little poor, but walking up the hill we pass gate after gate until we reach the top where his grave is.  It is decorated with wreaths and ribbons from different towns and families to pay homage to him.  History is important here.  History is sacred here.

I go to sleep at night listening to the sounds of the animals and insects of the night.  Crickets chirping, dogs barking, owls hooting, donkeys braying, dogs barking.  There’s as much activity at night here as there is in the day.  It’s actually quite comforting.

From my Transylvanian part of Mayberry,