We are engaged in a great civil war
over the future of the land
upon which this nation of varied peoples stand,
of the land that has up to now nourished
and nurtured the people who
borrow from it their sustenance
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow.
– William Williams 1717-1791
THROUGH A LITTLE HOLE
It’s been hand-signals, shouts all afternoon but now Roy lets in the clutch, turns the key, and the whirring slap of the Allis Chalmers’ idle is stilled. I can hardly see for the sweat, brush the chaff from my sleeve, and drag the flannel across my face. I notice Roy lift his cap to do the same.
The sudden silence is godly. Thunderclouds are lifting in the west.
Good thing we got her done.
I nod my head—too whipped to speak: three hundred bales, two men, and this last sixty yet to get to the barn and into the mow.
Roy’s eighty-two, but he slips off the metal seat like a teenager and lopes toward the trees below the far side of the knoll. His back to me, he lifts a hand for me to follow. Though I didn’t think I could move, I tramp behind him several hundred yards into the shade but even here it’s still hot—ninety degrees forecast—perfect for hay but takes it out of you. I’d hayed with Roy several summers but never this back field off the point.
Though we descend lower along the hill, we’re not headed for the run. Eventually, he stops: Listen. And when the cicada overhead cuts its droning screed, I hear it, a steady, small splashing onto stone and, ducking under a tangle of briars, there’s the spring flowing out of its metal pipe. I learn later Roy’s dad set it half a century ago into this mossy sandstone bank our path had skirted these last few minutes. Looped over a sycamore branch hangs a single, blue enamel cup. Roy’s bony, bronze hand slips it off, fills it, and hands it to me— holy hell, is it ever cold… I have to sip to keep it from numbing my teeth. But …my lovely Jesus – how can water be this sweet?
For the first time in hours, I cool off and, handing the cup back to Roy, slip down, my back against the uneven bank and feel my shoulders loosen, and I breathe. We sit like this for a little eternity, lulled by the sound of this liquid God-gift, crystal-pure, raw- perfect and sacred water… I will remember this. Even hours later, scratchy, throwing that last bale into the dark corner of the dusty mow, I will remember and know my thirst was slaked…. by water pouring free through a little hole in a pipe, through a little hole in the earth.
Les mer «Marc Harshman / A Breach»