Roman Stonemason

Summer 2016 - Volume 20 Number 3

Roman Stonemason

Roman Stonemason
Tom Janisse, MD, MBA

A Roman stonemason works to repair the vulnerable corner of a 1000-year-old structure. He stands sturdy in his fashionably buckled black boots, blue jeans with plaster-clouded knees, and traditional blue work coat with lapels. Kneepads wait to support his delicate work close to the ground, hammering additional bits of marble, variously sized, to fit all filling defects. He restores a historic work of masonry 30 generations after its construction and reconstruction, done just like this in just this way, in a process first learned during the transition from wood to stone.

Some hours into mixing mud, his dextrous hands with precision and artistry carefully prep the faces for a final fresh surface coat, smooth to the touch. When he is done, the pads, hammer, slab, and bits all fit into his metal pail, then into his bicycle basket for a ride home through Roman traffic. He looks back to view with pleasure and a sure sense of contribution his master work of art.

Dr Janisse is the Editor-in-Chief of The Permanente Journal and Publisher of The Permanente Press.

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