Sunday, February 24, 2008
Brick by brick
Buildings are built brick by brick. I once watched a mason work. He was an Irishman, from County Cork, he claimed. He would lay a brick, spread mortar, lay a brick: his moves were like a beautiful dance. The sun shone on him, his red hair alight with the fire of the day, ruddy as the bricks in his hands. His freckles stood out against alabaster skin, the hair on his arms was a golden down. I sat entranced by him, by his grace, by his dexterity. He whistled constantly, effortlessly. He seemed like a man in love with his work. He explained how bricks have life in them. Made from the earth they are solid and grounded. They hold the heat from the sun and warm us far into the cold dark nights. He held each one like a prize, a jewel to be fitted into an ornate fretwork. He knew an infinite number of patterns it seemed, each a mystery to me. But he whistled on as I watched, turning baked clay into grand dreams, and grand dreams into reality.