12.13.17 – Brewed-ing
I sat in the old row and thought about the last time I pulled the levers and turned the coals in that tight church. It had been the first shovel I’d stolen when I arrived with scraped knees on that city’s soft sidewalk. Those toiling traded in warmth, starting early and grinding it up to a bitter taste that people found quite palatable before sunrise. I was a visitor hiding in a visage that had been aged faster than one could comfortably calculate. I still recognized the other artisan hands that stirred the world beside me as if they hadn’t found the same amount of wear in this profession. I thought I’d left the hard labor for something sedentary but this cast kept their youth by forging fine feelings day after day; my journey was measured in burdens carried rather than what was given. It felt good to sit a moment and watch the old work. Maybe I’d catch some of that grandeur and let it liven my impatient hours.
I hadn’t laid a hand on the tools in half a decade and wondered if I could still turn a brush on that easel and leave a smooth arc that burned just right to tongue and eye. The knives were the same, sharp enough to cut at a glance and wielded carefully away from the others who had to stand at my sides. We hadn’t shared blood in a long time even though my fingers were fond of finding the delicate edge; they were good at holding their cries shut till I’d moved on. Heat was rising off the burners and a crowd was waiting eagerly in line for some bit of show. They’d placed glass between the painter and the patrons so they could peer without worry of tripping up that commission. Some only swooped in to find a scent, steal an ounce of waking, and descend back to a street not yet ready for footfalls. Those that came to buy did so with anticipation painted on their faces. They stared at the canvas until it was wrapped and delivered like a personal flame to a shivering patient. I remember being such a caretaker once and when I watched that new creator making his own marks I found my hands twisting and tracing the lines in helpful habit. It was an homage and a longing, one sated by these infrequent visits to an old mill.
Winter brings the wanderings. I took the slow gallop here to see how much a memory had changed. I find, too often, that the biggest difference is in me and that those comfortable corners don’t erode as fast as I’d feared.