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The Old Bucket Story and The Hydrangea Path

Oil on Canvas


This lovely seaside home I walk by reminds me of a story I love so much I want to share it with you. Perhaps you know it? It is an old story crafted before indoor plumbing. Of course, none of us remember that because that was introduced in 1829 when 26-year-old Isaiah Rogers excited the world when he demonstrated indoor plumbing at the Tremont Hotel in Boston. But all good stories, handed down through generations, carry relevance and messages to our world today. Storytelling is an ancient art form and a valuable form of human expression. Stories spark imagination and stimulate curiosity. Art often includes a storytelling element, so I will tell one that sprang to mind. You may relate to a different story, which is perfectly ok!

This story takes place when no one has indoor plumbing. An older woman living alone had to go to a local river to get fresh water for the day. Each morning, she went to get water.

"The Broken Bucket"

Once, there was an elderly woman who needed to walk down to the river every morning to fetch water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. She carried two buckets with her, filled them up at the riverbank, and walked back with them to her rural cottage home.

One of the buckets was newer, perfectly sealed, and held its water flawlessly. But the second bucket was older and contained a few thin cracks that would leak water onto the ground as the elderly woman walked. By the time she arrived home, about one-third of the water had seeped out of the cracked bucket.

The days months, and years passed. Until one day arriving at the river, the woman heard the cracked bucket sigh. This surprised the woman as she had never heard a bucket sigh before. Then the bucket spoke.

"I am so sorry. I am so sorry."

"What are you sorry about?" the woman asked the bucket.

"That I keep leaking. You work so hard to bring water to the house, and I am half-empty by the time we get home. A bucket has one job, and I can't do it correctly."

The elderly woman smiled." "Do you really think I haven't known about your cracks this whole time?" she asked." "Look at all the beautiful flowers that grow on the path from my cottage to the river.

The bucket looked down for the first time and was amazed." All along the edge of the dirt path were beautiful, colorful flowers, showing every hue imaginable.

"This path is the most beautiful place in my entire world." And it's all because of you." The woman consoled the bucket, "I'm so sorry that you never knew this." So, so sorry that you thought you were broken and a failure." You're not a failure, and you're not broken — you're perfect."

I love the reminder of this story to appreciate my flaws and flaws in others." Perfection in art and life is boring, but flaws are beautiful. Broken is powerful." When I can see the underpaintings and reworkings in art, I am not seeing the mistakes but rather the process." It is the mistakes that add to the depth. Weakness can be a strength. Flaws are needed to make our world interesting and beautiful.

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