Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Well


My grandparents lived without indoor plumbing
and raised eight children.

I was afraid of the well
because one of my cousins
threatened to push me into it
down into that deep black water

but I was also drawn to the well
to the novelty of it
and begged to fetch the water.

When I now use the phrase
refilling the well
to describe breaks between books
and the gathering of new inspiration,
in my mind I see
that well, above,

deep and dark and full.

xx



17 comments:

  1. A beautiful image. I, too, have a well like that in my childhood memories and in my mind when I am refilling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's surprising to me how many of those chlldhood images remain with us -- even shape us in some ways. xx

      Delete
  2. On a sweaty, hot, sweltering July day back in another life, me and my brother and another couple of boys had our photo plastered on page One of our local paper. I was 10 my brother seven. I never pass a well w/o thinking of that time. I know exactly where it was taken too. Well, well, well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, you mean you were standing by a well? And your pic was in the paper because . . .? I'm sensing mischief afoot.

      Delete
    2. ... it was soooooooooo HOT! No mischief at all. For once!

      Delete
    3. Ohhhh. . .a circuitous route, but I get it . . .

      Delete
  3. I was afraid of wells because of some folk tale or story in childhood even though we had city plumbing. But a favorite fairy tale was The Star Dipper, about a girl who gets water from the well for her sick mother...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the sound of The Star Dipper . . . will have to track it down. xx

      Delete
  4. Here in hot south, wells are never really filled, as water is very deep inside of the ground. So I can't imagine a full well !To try to fill a well seems something impossible to me..except with imagination!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh - good point -- maybe I should be happy with a half-full well! xx

      Delete
  5. we had a well beside our old house (the one swept away by hurricane irene). it's that well i imagine when i use the same phrase...filling the well. it's so interesting that each person has her/his own private image of "the well" and yet we can easily identify with and relate to other's images of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm finding that so interesting, too.

      Delete
  6. A few vivid childhood memories: dusty cobwebbed attics, musty damp cellars, and deep dark wells that speak when spoken to. When you are exposed to these things as a child, they are never forgotten.

    I grew up on farms in the Midwest and I recall the wells. They were usually haphazardly covered with weathered boards weighted down with large rocks. These memories stay with you because of the ominous voices of your mother or grandmother warning of their danger. Of course this also added a degree of mystery, a reason to peer down into their darkness and say, "Hello."

    When my family used to visit my grandmother in Missouri, we drew well water with the bucket that hung alongside of the well. There was no running water in the house, which meant she also had an outhouse. I remember the path that we had to follow to get there. A frog saved me from being bitten by a copperhead snake during one of those jaunts. Apparently frogs are more captivating than little blond-haired girls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love all that!! Thank you for reminding me, too, of the 'weathered boards weighted down with large rocks.' Yep. And calling out, "Hellooooo." Yep. And the outhouse, oh yeahhhh. More on that soon. . . xx

      Delete
  7. I am intrigued by how our memories take us back to places, but I also wonder about how my age changes what I thought or felt about something when I was younger. Other people often remember things differently than I do. My favorite well memory goes back to my aunt and uncle's cottage...priming the pump before we could get water for indoors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I remember doing that, too. But what I can't remember - the pump must have been separate from the well, right? I remember lowering the bucket, but I also remember priming the pump. Different times maybe...?

      Delete
  8. This has special meaning for me because I'm looking over the black well myself right now. I just finished one writing project, and am trying to fit myself into the rythmn of another.

    ReplyDelete