The field lives by the water, but does not want it. The man lives by the field and makes it drink. He hears the suck of the sod as he deepens the ditch and the thwack of his shovel beating new clods in place.
“There now,” he thinks. “That will hold for a while.” And he looks down the ditch at two hundred yards of clods undug.
He rests, and his fingers curl in a circle that fits the shaft of his shovel. He gazes upstream toward yesterday’s ditch, and the ditches of days gone by—in this field, and that one, and the other through the trees. Fields and ditches that were made by hand.
Take away the man, and you take away the ditch.
Take away the ditch, and you take away the water.
Take away the water, and you take away the man.
You leave only the sound of the river.