Thursday, 2 June 2011

Thursday @ 3 - "The Water Carrier"

Watching rainwater collect in an old bucket inspired this little ditty - exactly 300 words to conjure up an image....


You could hear him every day soon after dawn making his way along the dusty track. The gentle lapping noise of the water carried in the pails, strung out from the yoke that rested on his bony shoulders, became a natural rhythm section that played counterpoint to the slap-slap of his sandalled feet.

Lo-djing would make this journey several times a day, but this first outing would inevitably be accompanied by the high-pitched resonance of his voice as he sang his morning litany. The unintelligible words would be lost on me; although I had lived in this remote part of China for over three months it was a dialect that I’d never heard anywhere else.

I reflected on my time here in this small village, somehow lost in the medieval ages, virtually bypassed by technology and escaping most of the directives of the ruling communist state. These were simple people, living largely as their ancestors had done. Generation succeeding generation; skills and genealogies passed from father to son, mother to daughter.

In the newer towns there was the odd infiltration from the outside world; the ubiquitous TV aerial, multi-strung telephone wires. Here, in the hillsides, the ageless wonder of terraced rice-paddies continued to be worked and tended in the time-honoured fashion.

As Lo-djing approached, the fanfare of his salutation carrying on the breeze, I raised my camera and thought again about the anachronism about to be captured on film. Even in the twenty-first century, though his entire world encompassed the distance between the spring and the small areas of cultivation he serviced, the ancient water carrier still had his place; his dignity and status.

Through the lens I caught the smile of peaceful content on his face and wondered, not for the first time, who was the richer among us?


  1. Wonderful post. Yes, I think living without much technology and living a simple life would bring greater happiness.

  2. hi Sue:)

    it was easy to see the life behind/in the words. might also note that i have a photo of a man that you might get a kick out of. i followed him a ways to just to get his photo because.....

    oh! you're gonna have to wait a bit!:)

  3. This is so beautifully written, and I love the conclusion. I love it when I find a blogger who is really focused on writing well on their blog, as opposed to just "posting." So nice.

  4. Very smooth with a zen like quality. The simplicity of the old enlightened master. I really enjoyed this.

  5. Thanks for the comments folks! I'm hoping these 'Thursday@3' stories will be varied - will be trying my hand at different genres so it will be interesting to see how it all pans out!

  6. Another lovely piece, Sue. I loved the ending and agree with Melissa about your writing.

    Thanks for the nudge! :)