I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. ~Mike May
The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. ~Joseph B. Wirthlin
The same can be said about the wonderful conveniences we are all so used to here in America. Sunday when we got home from church, I turned on the faucet as I was fixing lunch. Water dribbled out, but without any water pressure. Then it stopped coming out at all. A call to a neighbor revealed the problem wasn’t ours alone. That was good news. At least we didn’t have to search for a broken pipe in our yard. No, the broken pipe was up the road a ways and everybody on our road was without water. That was unhandy. I like having that nice clean water piped right into my house.
It hasn’t always been that way for me. For years we did not have water piped to our house. We had a cistern. A big concrete cistern that held a lot of water. When it rained, water off the roof flowed into gutters that funneled the water through a filter into the cistern. In those days out here on the farm, what we called “city” water wasn’t available except by hiring a guy with a big tank on his truck to haul it to us for a price. My teenage son loved going on vacation at motels where his mother didn’t yell at him to get out of the shower. But when it wasn’t raining, hauling water was expensive.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have a big cistern. We had a rock lined well like cistern that was ages old. Occasionally my father would clean out the cistern when the water in it got low. Of course, when the water in it got low and it wasn’t raining, we were hurting for water. Then we’d have to take milk cans or jugs down to a spring around on the road that never ran dry. At least not in my memory. But most of the time it rained enough to keep us in drinking water. We had another big old tank outside that caught rainwater from a different section of the roof that we used to water the hens and dogs and hauled inside for washing clothes. The cows had the pond. We were country people but we managed. And we rarely got sick.
But the other day when water quit coming out of the faucet, it was harder to think about managing without that nice easy access to water. I no longer had a cistern of water to fall back on. We do have a spring, but it wouldn’t be easy to get water there. At least not nearly as easy as turning a tap. We’re spoiled to the conveniences of clean water at the twist of a knob, with electricity at the click of a switch, with heat that flows into our houses through vents, with television shows flying through space to us. We did have electricity when I was a kid. My sister remembers when the first wires were run out our way, but I don’t. But we kept our house warm with a wood stove. Well, only sections of it warm. In the winter, there was definitely family togetherness around the stove. We had a television with an antenna drawing in the three stations. One of the stations didn’t come in very well. And our telephone belonged to the telephone company and was attached to the wall with seven other families sharing the same line. Not much was secret for long in our community if you mentioned it on the phone.
But even then things were more convenient than for the pioneers before us. I think those frontiersmen were probably happy when they came across a waterfall like in the picture above. A great way to enjoy a shower. Of course, in those days it was considered foolhardy and inviting illness to bathe too often. So see, everything works out. And thank goodness, the water company worked on Sunday and got water running through the pipes back to all our houses again. That’s one bill I don’t mind paying at all.
Have you always had modern conveniences in your life?
In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it. ~Lao Tzu