UNDER A MOUNTAIN-BLUE SKY a woman weaves prayers into the winds that blow over the bright lands of her birth. The Himalayan light adorns her, and the colours all around her glow jewel-like, turquoise, coral, in the cold air.
In one hand she holds a prayer-wheel, which she spins as she prays, setting intention in motion, sending the words out onto the wind.
With her other hand she spills out coloured sands to create a sand-mandala on the ground in front of her - a geometric circle pattern of colour-magic that will last as long as the winds will it.
But this mandala is also a clock, and so the transitory nature of time and the ever-turning, ever-changing present is spelled out in two mandalas overlaid - one, a beautifully-crafted ritual from the east, the other, a ubiquitous wheel of numbers which we look at every day.
Above our prayer-weaver in the blue blue skies blow coloured flags. These contain prayers too, which are caught by the winds as they pass by, and carry them to other places and people and ears to hear them.
The words painted on the flags are in Mongolian. At the bottom edge of the clock, the same words are written in Tibetan. They spell out a well known mantra to the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, the patron deity of Tibet. The repeated sounds of this six-syllable mantra - om mani padme hum - are thought to reverberate throughout the universe, and can be found written all over Tibet on mani stones, prayer flags, prayer-wheels and in many other places.
I love the idea of stones and flags written with prayers, being left all over the land, for the wind to catch. And the idea that the spinning of the wheel is equivalent to chanting the mantra contained in it many times.
This clock was created a year and a half ago in oils on wood for a woman who loved these lands of the Himalaya mountains, who loved Sanskrit scripts and calligraphy, and all things Tibetan. But sadly at the time I was finishing it, she was travelling in India, a country she loved, and was very badly injured in an accident. Since then, her family has been waiting for her recovery and putting all their funds into paying for hospital treatment. Unfortunately this means that there's no possibility of them paying for this clock that I had made, which has left me with a dilemma. I really wanted this clock to go to the person I made it for, and I have waited and kept it a year and a half in the hopes that circumstances might change.
But they have not. And my client's husband has given his blessing for me to sell it on to someone who will love it. So here it is ... The Mani Clock, a jewel-like thing which I am quite proud of, and which I now pass on to you. Would you like to own it? Or know someone for whom it would make a unique gift? I know that many folks have been waiting for another Once Upon O'Clock to be listed. Now's your chance! I will put this in my Once Upon O'clock etsy shop at 8pm tonight - 29th October 2013 - UK time (here's a handy time converter to work out what time that will be in your part of the world). [EDIT: The clock is now listed here.]
Meanwhile, as the winds blowing through these lands right now take prayers with them to other places, I leave you with some beautiful singing by a young boy in Tibet: