CARRIER

Two buckets were easier carried than one.

I grew up in between.

My left hand placed the standard iron weight.

My right tilted a last grain in the balance.

        -by Seamus Heaney, from Terminus, The Haw, 1987

 

Remember and think about walking as a form of labour. Self-powered mobility is a necessity for most of the people in the world today. Refugees, exiles, the poor, those seeking water and food and shelter, those whose work it is to move things from place to place, they all walk.

Use your body and some simple tools, and your creative sensibility as an artist, to gain some insights on what it might feel like to walk as a form of work. Become aware of how heavy the weight is across your shoulders, of the need to balance not only from side to side but also from front to back.

How do your feet fall? Does the milk in the pail slosh over the rim? Can your feet still glide while you carry all that weight?

The spring of a bamboo carrying pole, when your pace is perfectly calibrated, lifts the load up with each step. An oak beam, though strong, makes each burden a dead one. And your hands are redundant; your prehensile grip and dexterity less important than your brute strength.

Lift your head up, turn and look around you and see who else wears the yoke; your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, oxen, mules.