Driving in west Texas, I come over a gentle rise in the long straight road I'm on, and what do I see before me? Oil wells. This peculiar apparatus that moves partly round and round, partly up and down, row after row of it, and I drive past them for easily the next 100 miles.
Many are motionless. But many are working. On top, a big arm with an oval "head" moves up and down, like that famous toy with the two long-necked birds that alternate trying to dip into a glass of water. Nearer ground level, two separate smaller arms, also with oval heads, go in circles. That circular motion is translated, piston-like, into the up-down motion of the arm above.
The ones that are moving are strangely, well, moving, though perhaps its my frame of mind. There's a gentle deliberateness to the motion, I imagine almost hypnotic were I not driving past. The lower arms, from one angle and at the point in their motion where their heads are at the top of the circle they describe, look startlingly like a young kid wearing a stetson, or a sombrero. And with the upper arm rising and falling, the whole effect is very like a fond father, bending low to pick up and swing his small child, again and again, using both his arms, never fully straightening up.
I've seen fathers like that. I remember a father like that.