Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Morning Wake-up Call

It's Monday. It's morning. This is your wake-up call. Since most times this blog is about writing, the craft, inspiration, stories, events, failures, or successes, I'm going to try and inspire you with the movement of dirt.

Well, not just any dirt, North Carolina dirt, which if y'all are from here, you might recognize it as most parts clay, heavy, wet gray clay or the heavier and denser than a neutron star, red clay. The road I live on is a private road, apart from the much larger part of our exurbia development. Each of my four neighbors and I own this road, which means we have to maintain it along with the beautification alongside it so it doesn't look like the setting for a horror movie like "Last House Down the Lane" or a backwoods thriller such as Deliverance. In all we do a good job of the 1/3rd of a mile long black-top road that ends at Randy's house.

But, I've had a pile of dirt alongside my road frontage. I paid a six-pack of beer for it to a tired driver who had just wanted to dump his last load of the day from the deforestation project known as the next housing development about four miles away. When I waved the common late Friday afternoon currency, he delivered. The pile sat. Oh, I'd take a wheel barrel full of dirt once in a while, separate the rocks out, and spread the dirt at the edge of the blacktop to keep it from caving in the low spots. But it was long, slow, hard work. At the rate I worked through the pile, Sasha Obama would be looking for her second term as President, and I would probably have forgotten why I was moving the dirt in the first place.

The pile loomed as a constant reminder of things undone, like a good story that needs a strong revision that you just can't seem to get enthused about. Water pooled in front of the pile, which had become a dam in the deep V ditch alongside the road. Thousands of frogs played all summer long in the rich water (clay has a lot of minerals), a black snake enjoyed them thoroughly until a broad-tailed hawk enjoyed the snake. All kinds of water plants nestled along the shoreline of the fifteen-foot long, six-foot wide impromptu pond. I even saw two small fish in the pond one day unclear how they arrived there. I was even considering leaving the bottom portion of the pile as a dam and make the pond a permanent feature, but my sister-in-law, who does not live in our development and was aghast that I'd let the pile sit for 18 months, threatened to call our Homeowners' Association and complain.

I turned to my sister-in-law, "I am the Homeowners Association Board."

It's a small association. I duly noted her complaint then ignored it.

Still, when Randy offered to help me move the pile with his baby backhoe and scoop, I took him up on his offer.

So yesterday, Sunday, we moved the pile. At some point in the four hour long process, all the other neighbors stopped by to watch the progress, catch up on each other's news, suggest ways to break up the bigger clumps of red clay, including dynamite. I thought a block party was going to break out.

The pile was moved, the pond drained, sister-in-law overjoyed, and wife relieved that the second-longest item on the to-do list was vaporized. Neighbors seemed happy that the black-top is now supported better. But this morning I was a bit sad to see the pile gone. The dirt had accidentally created an environment that made frogs, snakes, fish, and hawks thrive. Now, it's just another ditch on the side of the road like thousands of other ditches, wishing they could be more.

I guess I just miss my dirt.
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Now, don't tell me you can't think about something in your life about which to write. Time to write.

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