Thursday, January 4, 2018

the terraced steps fit the land

an elegant solution

never does a project
go easier, faster, surer,
than my expectations—
at least until now,

the footing of the way
from the cabin porch steps
to the flat near the creek
has increasingly disturbed
my sense of rightness,
exposed root and rock
all almost designed to impede, to trip,

in the last few years,
I have imagined solutions of rock or wood,
the rock has scared me with its weight and unwieldiness,
the wood with the brusque heaviness of its engineering,

an old broken-down redwood bench offered a slat to me,
and it was already but feet away,
I only had a handsaw,
but with two cuts I had a wall,
and two stops to pound into the ground,
and within a few minutes I had the retaining wall,
and within another few minutes 
I had the leveling earth behind it,
I needed one more level,
so the next day I studied the slope,
and I found a smaller rock,
sticking out from under a bedded boulder,
a few minutes of shovel and mattock work
and it was out,
as I started to lift and flip it away,
I noticed how flat a surface it had,
a few minutes more work,
and it was anchored—
one side under the boulder
and the other side chocked with root and rock,
and more dirt around it,

the two terraced steps fitting 
into the land with a graceful simplicity,

would that all our works wedded so well
our vision with what fits upon the earth.

by Henry H. Walker
December 28, ‘17

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