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12/19: Watering

Most afternoons, since the short rains never really materialized in
our area, about 4:30, just as the sharp edge of the heat and light of
the sun gain some manners, we water the transplanted grass on the

The small talk evaporates by the fourth bucket and we settle into a
wordless rhythm. The lowered bucket’s slap against the water, the
smooth heave up and out, the controlled slide of the full bucket on
the arm of the tank, my left hand on the rim, right under, weight on
my right leg, pivot, weight transfer and small dip under the water’s
heft, small swinging lift up to the tank’s mouth –it is a swoop
really, almost as though in motion I never bear the full weight of the
full bucket– and the cascade into the mouth of the thousand liter
watering tank. Another pivot, right hand the bucket to Boniface and
accept the next in the completion of the same movement. It goes
quickly. Seafarers recognize bailing. How they cleared the bilges on
the Pequod before” it” came and wrecked everything.

The Kapiti plain falls away and even the small elevation of the pickup
bed is a lookout’s post. The steady afternoon Eastern wind stiffens
and cools. It’s every day’s autumn in a land unfamiliar with the

And for that hour these twenty-five split cedar posts are luminous,
anyone will tell you.

Sometimes, when the tanks are low, one of us (Gilbert) has to adjust.

So long for now.

Yours for moist earth,

David and the Watering Crew

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