According to this story, at one time, everything was thought by people to be permanent. They liked things just as they were. The only thing which seemed to change was time, over which no one seemed to have control.
Then, something new happened. Something changed: a clockmaker was born. There had never been such a being before, because clocks hadn't been invented yet. People just used the passing of the sun overhead to keep track of time, which seemed to always keep changing.
When the clockmaker grew from a baby into a young man, he decided one day that he needed a clock to measure time, so that he could keep track of time as it passed. Therefore, the clockmaker invented, designed, fabricated, and assembled a clock to measure passing time, which it did well for years and years and years. People were quite pleased with it, and would look into the clockmaker's window several times per day to keep track of the passing of time, and would occasionally turn to the sun, just to compare clock time with solar time.
As time continued to pass, time wearing on, so to speak, the lubrication placed upon the gears within the clocks gear case began to stiffen, and then hardened and lost its lubricity. The gears of the clock began to wear down as one gear face wore upon the other as the clock measured time passing. So well made by the clock maker, the clockworks moved on measuring time in this deteriorating state for years and years and years, until eventually, due to a stroke, the clockmaker lost vision in one eye, and then later, due to another stroke, lost vision in the other. Soon thereafter, the clockmaker suffered a heart attack and died. His dead body lie there on his workshop floor and the vermin came to eat his flesh and were quite happy with the feast that his body provided. Ironically, just one week thereafter, a tip of but one tooth in the clock's gear casement broke off, fell, and lodged in the main gear of the gear train, and the clock main-spring wasn't strong enough to overcome the force of the blockage.
Over time, no longer able to be measured by the clockmaker's handiwork, the vermin had completely stripped his flesh and devoured his organs, so that all that was left were his bones.
One night a cold front move through the town where the clockmaker lived and a storm arose. The wind blew furiously blowing open the rear entrance to his workhouse. In through the door came a wandering and hungry pack of dogs, who were grateful to find fresh bones still full of marrow. They began to chew and gnaw until little was left of even the clock makers bones.
With the door open, and the storm passed, sand and moisture in the air blew into the room bringing suitable conditions for mold and mildew. As they grew upon every surface within the workshop the chairs, tables, even the walls began to corrode and weaken.
Fasteners used by the clockmaker began to rust. The rust over the weeks, months, and years broke free from the fasteners and formed reddish-brown dust, which eventually was blown away when a second storm came.
After years and years the clockmaker's workshop building fell to the ground, now just a jumble of rubble and debris.
Still more immeasurable periods of time passed: years, decades, ages, eons, kalpas, .......
The sun, the local star near where the clockmaker had lived, grew into a red giant, heated up the atmosphere of The Earth driving it away into space; the oceans boiled; the planet boiled; the planet was absorbed by the star; the star collapsed upon itself; the universe ceased to expand; the universe collapsed upon itself forming a tiny dense ball of all the mass and energy which had once been the universe; then there was an explosion!
Many kalpas passed, until another sun, planets, ......and eventually another clockmaker was born, and he decided to make a clock to measure the passing of time.......
Nothing seemed to change until.......
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.