Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Digging To China
I planted two little bayberry bushes in my yard last weekend. As I dug the holes, my mind was transported back to when I was eight years old and tried to dig to China. My neighbor had a little strip of dirt next to her front door. I thought this dirt was really special because it was clay-colored. I dug for a while, wondering if I’d like China. After about three minutes I decided that China probably wasn’t all that great and moved on to some other activity. My hole was only about two inches deep (I believe my digging tool was a stick... not the best choice). Was I a quitter, or just a child genius who knew a dumb idea when she saw it? The two holes I dug last weekend were about a foot and a half deep. Not even close to China, or burning hot magma at the center of the earth, but that wasn’t my intention. Years ago, I decided to put a garden in my front yard. I love flowers that cascade over rocks. Unfortunately, my front yard was just boring, flat lawn. Nothing to cascade over. So, I built a rockery on either side of my front walk. I had small boulders and soil dumped in my front yard. I rolled and placed the rocks, shoveled and raked the soil, then planted some choice flowers and greenery. It was by far the hardest physical labor I have ever done. A strange thing occurred while all this was going on. Neighbors who’d never spoken to me suddenly showed up, chatty as hell. “Whatcha doin’?”. At the very moment I was struggling to roll boulders across the sidewalk, every child within 10 miles decided to ride their bikes past. Several people remarked how it sure looked like a lot of work, but nobody offered to help. It was all very odd and annoying. Nobody bothered me while I dug my two recent holes. I got a little piece of serenity, a little dirt under my fingernails, and two new additions to the garden. Maybe I was a genius all those years ago, deciding to stay put where I was.