The Continuous, Steady Turning

I liked the smell of the wheat. Roasted wheat, to be exact. I don't even know if it was wheat. It was so similar to the barley tea that was served at the Japanese places my family used to go to.

            We had huddled into a small hut, some poking their heads in from the narrow doorway, gazing at an effortlessly rotating mechanism in the middle of the hut.

            I had figured out that it was a mill of some kind. It was made of three main parts - a cylinder-shaped stone at the very bottom as the lower part of the grounding station, an irregular piece of rock grinding and turning on top of the bottom rock, and a suspended cone for containing the grain being ground, made of woven bamboo-like textured material, attached to strings. I remember noticing the continuous, steady turning of the rock on top, and the enjoyable smell that filled my nostrils.

            The guides had explained the functioning of the hydro-powered mill, and dug a handful of the grain out of the suspended container at the top for us to see and taste. We later learned that the grain was roasted, which was why it crunched in our mouths and emitted the fragrance of cooked flour.

            Beyond the pleasant smell, I also learned about how neighbors in the same community harvested together, ground the flour together, and came to get their share of flour. I learned that the rock on top was powered by the flow of water underneath the hut, which I registered as a convenient way of harvesting renewable energy.

            Maybe what I really liked was how, despite the fact that no one attended to the mill, it nevertheless was rotating in an unfaltering, promising way. The entire structure was so independent, but incredibly smooth in terms of operation, as there weren't any creaks or places that the rocks stuck. At one point I thought that the mill was centered, unmoving, and peaceful, as if anything that went on outside the little hut inside which it was housed would not affect it at all. In turn, I started to think about how much each one of us is swayed by the opinions of others.

            I would like to have the psychological weight that mill bears. It would translate into a kind of self-knowledge, of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of oneself, and acknowledging them honestly. This, in my opinion, is not an easy mission, but it is definitely beneficial to the development and growth of any person.

- Skylar