Nancy: Yes, the walk to the well, the weight of the bucket, the climb back up the hill, have compensations difficult to describe but very real.
Down the hill, at the well,
four steps have been carved into the icy white stone
of winter. Four deep steps.
I take the buckets and go.
When I was a child, I was taken to
a famous building. Later I felt foolish
when they asked me what I had liked best.
The steps. The white marble cupped and worn
by the passing feet. They laughed, and I never
mentioned it again, but I remembered the cool sound
in my mind, of stone wearing under the feet.
I think of those steps now, and of the deep wells
of the desert, where the steps are cut
into red or gold sandstone, and generations
of women have worn smooth patterns of descent and climb.
Four steps, the splash of the bucket, dip, lift.
Is it not more wonderful than monuments
that a child could see the feet of strangers in the stones,
and that I burnish, slowly, the heavy cover
and tile of the well? Is it not beautiful,
to see the dark well water fill with sky?
Alan: There is a comfort, a sadness and mystery in something as simple as an old door nearing the end of its service.
Wabi Sabi – The Green Door
even more worn
more faded now
than in the photo –
flat December dawn
that yet proved luminous –
more gapped, warped,
green almost gone
from the grain –
still opens out
into marvelous air
out from shadow