W a l k i n g   O n   W a t e r
The parable of a diviner


Charles walking with divining rod Monologue
It was dawn and he hadn't slept for days. The sun was rising, flooding each row with the light of morning. The old man pulled his faded blue pants up and over his naked legs. He had just finished irrigating his vineyard. During the day, he worked at Gallo Winery. At night he tended his vines. He had no family, only a few friends. He lived alone. I heard about the incident a week after it occured. After a day's work at the winery, he drove home in his 52 Chevrolet flatbed. By the time he approached his destination, the afternoon sun had set. No time for dinner, no sleep, no drink-only work. The quarter-mile rows of his forty-acre vineyard were parched-in need of water. With his Ford tractor, he had double furrowed each row a couple of evenings before. Having had no sleep, he was exhausted. Drowsy eyed, he pulled the old Chevy up to the pump house. Illuminated by its headlights, he unlocked the weathered wooden doors and entered the darkness inside. Feeling his way around, he flipped the lever on the fuse box. Then he pushed the lowest button to start the twenty horsepower motor. Cool water began to pump out the aquafer. It flowed underground along a concrete pipeline then spilled out of watergates into each furrow at the west end of the vineyard. Wearing his irrigation boots and weilding a shovel he set out to disperse the waters evenly by adjusting each gate and to mend any broken furrows along the way. The entire forty acres of Thompson Seedless grape vines were now under irrigation. The musical trickle of water could be heard along the frontage road-Valentine Avenue. Inhaling a deep breath as if to yawn, he gazed up at the clear night's sky lit by a full moon and stars. The smell of newly wet soil permeated his nostrils. In his weary state, he slowly walked the quarter-mile to the opposite end of the vineyard where the furrows ended. There, he stuck his shovel into the ground and hung his khaki fedora on the handle. He slipped off his irrigation boots and stuffed his socks. Gently, he sat on the ground, took off his pants, rolled them into a pillow, layed back, and wedged his head. Adjusting his body like a guage, he lifted each of his naked legs into the air and plopped them down into the dry earth of the two adjacent furrows. Within minutes, he dozed off. He slept peacefully into the night. At dawn he was awakened with a startle. The cold irrigation waters, having flowed all night, finally reached his feet and soaked his legs at the end of the vineyard row-a signal that it was time to turn off the pump and to repeat the cyle of labor. I'm not certain why, but the old man's strange ways always kept me stirring and awake at night and my mind wandering, dreaming during the day at school. The classroom was empty by comparison. It was merely a site from which to experience the confluence.


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© Charles Garoian 2005