For the Well

I listen to the stove, rumble, growl
A black bear caged in the chimney breast.
My mind steps back
I see Grandmother boiling water for the morning tea,
The black kettle over the fire.
I hear her imperious voice.
” Marty, we need water from the Well”.
We walk down the fields to the bottom of the hill.
Me and Marty,
Two black and white sheep dogs
And two buckets
My hand snug in his
The smell of summer all around us
Newly mown hay,
Sweet and sticky under foot.
Bird song,
Bees falling into foxgloves.
The sun switched on.
Pouring light into the living room of our days
The Well was sacred
Only Marty could dip
The heavy silver pail into the water
Scoop crisp clean crystal into that bucket
Stirring no sediment
Disturbing no debris.
I adore my Uncle Marty. We all do.
He flows through our lives like a fresh mountain stream
Blessing us with patience
Nourishing us with kindness.
We wade back up the fields
Him with a bucket in each hand
Me with a tiny milk casket
Half filled to feel useful
It is slow and laborious
Every drop precious
None ever wasted.
It tastes of the fields.
If I close my eyes,
I can drink that water from the buckets
Sat on the windowsill by the back door.
Catch it in the chipped cup with the red rose.
I taste my childhood
The purity and innocence of that little girl
The warm fluid in the womb of my extended family.
I taste the farmhouse full of food and fecks and fires.
And so much fun.
I taste tears for days that will never come again.
Turn the tap and water gushes out.
I switch the kettle on to boil.