Yesterday, as requested, a man and his two assistants created a new sidewalk for our house.
First a frame: the particular angles marked with lines and string, and wood. Then a base of crushed limestone leveled and waiting. The practical done with attention, too, is art.
As they worked, a robin landed between them to pull worms from the turned soil, heedless of her proximity to man, hopping closer, then closer again.
And his son, visiting, complained my boots are missing: four years old and eager to be there, in the frame, doing his Father's work, waiting eagerly for the rumble of the tumbler truck.
With the mud pouring in, with rubber boots and concrete rakes, the rush began to pull and press the raw ingredients into each section of the frame. A moment or two's pause as they waited for the right texture and consistency before smoothing each inch: the delicate business of pressing, cleaning each tool between passes, until the surface lay smooth, then brushing & cutting in narrow grooves to allow the give and take of the earth, and ice, and heat.
And the end of the day, he stood back and smiled, pleased.
Something solid, something reliable: a day's work, well done.