Monday, June 22, 2009

this land is your land

Come out with us to the land J says, you never come out and I think you'd like it. It's hot and dirty and it'll be good for you. He's right, I spend most of my time doing other things equally important but still. He's right. So M and I head over in the afternoon and join J and the two guys who help out and we are promptly put to work.

J hands me a bucket, the size paint comes in and points to an enormous pile of rocks ranging from the size of a small dog to the average kind that fits in your hand. Those rocks need to be moved over there and he points across at least half an acre. You can use the bucket.

I look at him thinking he is joking but he's not. I grab the bucket and walk over to the rock pile and start to fill it. It's only half way full and I can barely lift it so I stop and carry it the long distance to the other side. On my way I am cursing, in hellish moments I always silently pretend I am arguing my case in front of a jury but you see my friends I used to run a multi-million dollar non profit and it's clear that hauling these rocks must be some mistake. Anyone who knows me would clearly agree. As I walk back I say can I do it a different way or am I actually being punished and I hear the other guys start to laugh. Of course not babe, do it however you want so I look around and realize there is nothing else to move these fucking rocks but oh wait oh holy mother wait I can use our car.

So I grab the keys and back the car up to the rock pile and open the back and start loading them in and I hear the guys laugh again that bucket was bullshit I say and I load and load and load and then drive across the acre and unload and unload and you get my point and I do it for two hours without taking a break because after awhile I find the zen of it, the simple pleasure in moving my body and working our land and I realize that this is why J has been pushing me to come. I even find a piece of Mayan pottery something not uncommon here, everyone says if you dig awhile and you'll find some shards but it's the first I've found and I hold it in my hands knowing this has been here for a thousand years and more and I can just barely make out the paint along the edge.

The third hour rolls around and nearly all of the rocks have now been moved and I am starting to limp because I am a wuss and I am not used to working this hard so I tell the guys I'm done and they smile because they started 6 hours before me and they work just as hard if not harder every single day but I don't care. So I grab my kid and my dog and we go jump in the river, we watch an iguana and we see some fish.

So now I'm tired and sore, the good kind that says you did something honest and J asks me if I'll come back again because he has another job all picked out and I can't help but ask him if it involves a toothbrush and tile and he laughs and we laugh but I don't laugh too hard because if the rocks was the ice breaker I am seriously wondering what he'll think up next.

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Anonymous said...

Your husband sounds like and ernest hardworking kind of guy. I like that and I love reading your stories. I hope J had a wonderful fathers day.

Anonymous said...

talk about work that makes you chip a nail.

painted maypole said...

so what are you prepping this land for?

alejna said...

I love you pretending to argue your case. Actually, I just love you.

You rock. With the rocks.

Ms. H said...

Let's rock the math:

big pile of rocks/ (boys + bucket) = big pile of rocks

big pile of rocks/ (Jen + car + 3 hours) = "the pile of rocks is almost gone"

The Result?
Jen Rocks the Rockpile!

Omaha Mama said...

I keep hoping for more pictures? It sounds great, even the work part. When you start going and going and suddenly there's just a hum where all of the jumbled thoughts were. Just the hum of your body doing such hard work. I couldn't do it day after day. I admire people who do.

Expatriate Chef said...

Shoveled some rocks in the islands myself. There's a good story for over a beer. Glad I stopped by, glad you are well.

kgirl said...

This is exactly how I lasted on a kibbutz in Israel for a year. Archaeological finds, and all.

Magpie said...

how the mighty have ... morphed!

i have the same question as PM - what are you doing with this land? or is the rock moving a purely sisyphean enterprise?

Kyla said...

You are a much better sport than I. I give Josh shit if he asks me to help him move a piece of furniture.

hele said...

sister, at my house your beer is always cold and always awaiting you

meno said...

Brains triumph over brawn!

Kim said...

There is no better sleep than that which comes after a hard day of physical labor.

It's good for the mind AND body.

I should do it more....and my husband should do it less. ;)

Bon said...

so it took two hours in the CAR? sweet merciful. with the bucket you'd still be out there.

i have never fully learned to do this kinda work - physical work, the stuff we demean as menial but that's also tangible, good for us. it intimidates the shit out of me, and yet i want my kids to know what it is, not to feel that way.

krista said...

there is some sort of synchronicity going on here. your comment box says 'rock it.'

Amy Y said...

I love that kind of sore. :)
Hope you're doing well, Mama... and feeling better today.

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