Monday, June 4, 2012

My imagination, continued. (with a splash of what friendship looks like)

Sure, but this wooden block. I've been staring at it for the past decade and a half. Fingering it's edges, pulling splinters from under my nails.

I've thrown it at walls (doesn't stick) tried to drown it (wood floats) and set it on fire --too close to the drowning, apparently: no fire.

Those initial connections, they're great, they're not the work. I know what work looks like, and occasionally I'll even do some. It looks satisfying because it is. Digging a hole with a shovel. Getting in the hole, hand scooping out the loosest of the dirt and getting that dirt ground (grinded) under your nails.

(What a weird image to have recur)

When I was sixteen and half done digging the new tree holes, my mother said to me, "You're an actual worker now." She smiled down at me, sweat pooling on her bosom. The afternoon sun made everything waver and I smiled through the sweat sting in my eyes, and I turned and kept digging.

Half the trees died over the winter and the next spring, I dug them up and returned them to the store (this was when trees could be purchased, and insurance taken out on them.) and dug the holes deeper, added more pete and fertilizer and planted new trees, which survived.

Seeds are one thing. Whole trees that have made it a few years are something else entirely. Transplanting them to a different kind of ground, does that work? If you have to auger the holes, will the roots make it through the clay walls, or are you suffocating them?

The answer is (and I know this because my mother showed me) that the weak ones die, and the strongest break through their red coffins and find the sustenance they need to thrive.

I used to think writing was like shoveling snow, but it doesn't always snow, and snow is seasonal. Digging though, digging is always an option, and there are more and less purposeful reasons to dig. When I was a child my parents took me to Florida and my dad and I dug a hole so big and so deep we touched the water table, and the was the some of the most fun I had that trip. If I'd've been smart I would've learned a lesson from this anecdote, too, but I didn't see the lesson until I was much older, and even now, some twenty-eight years later, I just now realized what I was being shown that day on the spiral staircase.