The numbers on the clock… how many times have I looked at that clock only to see the time.
It wasn’t until I copied the numbers in a drawing that they came to life. That I saw each had a personality all its own, and gave off a particular energy. Had a particular message, personal to itself. A way of being on the clock face that was unique, belonging to that number alone.
I bought the clock years ago for the alarm. This was before smart phones and apps for setting an alarm. I noticed the square shape because my other clock faces were round, but as for the shapes of the numbers, they simply represented the hour of day or night and the amount of time that was left or still to go…
Numbers. We learn them when we are small and that’s pretty much the end of it, other than what they stand for, be it minutes and hours or amounts of things. Numbers rule our lives, but how often do we notice the numbers themselves, without attaching other meanings to them. How much time we have or do not have, how much money, how much space, and so on. We notice whether we’re looking at Roman numerals like V for five, or X for ten, or whether we’re looking at Arabic numerals, when five is 5, and ten is 10. But we don’t usually have an emotional reaction to the shape of the number. If an emotion does crop up, it is more likely to be related to the value the number represents, not the digit itself.
Or perhaps like me, you took an interest in the fascinating science of Numerology, and studied the esoteric properties of numbers. Or what they meant symbolically in terms of your Destiny or your relationships. But again, this interest did not extend to what the numbers themselves actually looked like, only what they represented in terms of something else.
I began to feel the shape of numbers some years ago when I took note of the way I was addressing envelopes, especially my own return address. This did not come out of the blue. A friend I hadn’t seen in many years was sending notes and things in the mail, and to get a better handle on his personality I studied how he wrote my name and address. His handwriting was large and clear and often accompanied with flourishes. Then I looked at the way I wrote my own address. How proud and boastful my fives were! How shy the three! But it wasn’t until the other day when I drew the clock face of my old black alarm clock that the personality of the other numbers, machine-printed at that, jumped out at me. Here then is what I perceived.
The 1 by itself is a good soldier standing at attention. But put it next to the 2 for 12 and it takes on some of the flourish of the 2. The 2 is shy and graceful, and sallies forth with an air of humility. The 3 is self-involved and fearful. I see her gritting her teeth. The 4 is strong and sturdy—albeit a bit stubborn. The 5 cracks me up. He puffs out his chest in the most boastful way, but you can tell he has a sense of humor. The 6 is sheepish and uncertain, quite different from the confident 7. The 8 is bullish, the 9 is a hoarder and proud of it. (I can just hear the 9 saying, heh-heh.) The 0 of the 10 gives her an open look. The two 1s of the 11 are now two good little soldiers. And let us not forget the minute and hour hands like the wings of a plane… okay, maybe only the propellers.
Of course it is all in the perception, and you may see something entirely different. Meanwhile, I didn’t see much of anything until I drew the numbers by hand. With my own hand. Sensing the energy of the lines as I copied them, making them come alive in a whole new way. Drawing from life, the light traveling from eye to brain, down through the heart where it picks up the feeling, then out through the hand… I remember being thrilled when I read Stuart Wilde saying, Everything emits a feeling, and thinking, he knows!