winding my spring

Just as you take care of the birds and the fields every morning, ever morning I wind my own spring. I give it some 36 good twists by the time I’ve got up, brushed my teeth, shaved, eaten breakfast, changed my clothes, left the dorm, and arrived at the university. I tell myself, “OK, let’s make this day another good one.”

I’m reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and the protagonist often talks about “winding his spring.” He is referring to a watch, the old-fashioned kind you wind to keep it ticking. I love the metaphor. Our bodies perform routines and we keep going. We mentally prepare ourselves for what is ahead of us. Our gumption is our fuel.

Life can be hard. Relationships help us or distract us, fuel us or drain us. But despite our relationships, we all need our own gumption. We all wind our own springs. Some people just need a bit more winding than others.

How many Sundays – how many hundreds of Sundays like this – lay ahead of me? “Quiet, peaceful, and lonely,” I said aloud to myself. On Sundays, I didn’t wind my spring. 

Murakami also talks about taking a break from the winding. One day a week his protagonist allows this. It’s a wallowing, a lying about without forcing forward progress. It’s allowing yourself to be still. Just like I need to wind, I need to unwind (mixed metaphor, I know). I need to rest to have the energy to keep moving. And then, when I have it, I wind again. 

2 thoughts on “winding my spring

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  1. Oh, I’m reading Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and read that same passage you wrote about (wind my springs). It made me curious enough to google it, I wasn’t all that sure I had understood it and I came across your text. Thanks, I like what you wrote about it.

  2. I just read the same passage and was curious to know what it meant.
    The way you’ve explained it is remarkable.
    Thank you so much for writing this.
    Love from India

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