Saturday, January 06, 2007

How to Dig a Hole.

First, you decide where to dig.

In this case, it is a lovely hillside with a wonderful view of the lower pasture and the farm road.

You take with you a mattock and a shovel. The mattock is always neccessary because of the rocks. In South Carolina, the dirt is soft and easy to dig. That is not the case here. And this makes a great deal of sense to you. Because this is a hole that shouldn't be easy to dig. It is better if it is the hardest hole you have ever dug.

You use the mattock to chip out the shape of the hole then carve out the topsoil with the shovel.

In this case, the shape of the hole is rectangular, and roughly the size of a child's grave.

You want to make the hole perfectly shaped since you are going to be in it for quite some time digging. It is also going to hold something very precious and the hole should be worthy of what is going into it.

The hole should be at least three feet deep. This is hard, since there are large slabs of rotten granite hidden under the soil. You will hit them about the time you have gotten about a foot and a half down.

At that point you will curse and realize you don't have the proper tools to break up the 20 pound rocks that stubbornly refuse to move even using the pick end of the mattock.

You will hike back to the house for your sledge hammer and a star and plain wedge. You wish you had a proper tool for stone, but the wedges will have to do.

While you are there, you might as well go inside and drink a big glass of coolaide. Tropical punch flavor is what is available. You rest a while and call a friend to come help.

When you arrive back at your partially dug hole with the sledge and wedges, you climb down to see exactly where the rock will break. It is hard to swing the sledge in the narrow confines of the hole. You will have to take turns swinging the sledge at the wedge in the rock and then using your bare hands to dig the loose rock and soil out.

Your hands might bleed. That is okay. Because this should be a really difficult hole to dig.

Finally, you are successful at pulling this rock out of the ground in pieces. But there is a much larger rock.

Just then, your friend arrives. He is a really burly man and makes much more progress at exposing the really big rock in the hole.

But this is the hardest rock of all to budge. And this is okay. This is supposed to be the most difficult hole you will ever dig.

Your friend wonders if it would be better just to leave the rock and dig around it. The shape of the hole, is, after all, nearly perfect. But it is the very perfection required of this hole that cries out for having that big rock removed. It must go.

So you work on. In two hours you manage to finally get the rock out. It must weigh sixty pounds. You have broken your sledge, broken your mattock and broken a wedge getting this one rock out.

But the hole is nearly perfect now. The sacrifice of tools was worth it. A tiny bit more digging and smoothing and the hole is indeed perfection.

And, there are quite a few large size boulders and rocks to place on top of the hole once you fill it back in.

That's how you dig a hole.


  1. Velociman said...
    Hard, hard work in a righteous cause. He'll always be with you now.
    Jean said...
    I am so, so sorry for your loss.
    What a perfect friend he was.

    Found you through v-man.
    Pedro the Ignorant said...
    It has always seemed to me to be one of the most unfair things in life that our animal friend's time with us is so short.
    May your memories of Aegis live forever, and may your sorrow at his passing rest lightly on your mind and drift gently away with time.

    You have written a beautiful tribute to your friend and companion.
    Lisa W. said...
    I'm so sorry about your dog. :(
    Anonymous said...
    ... I have dug such a hole... and you are right, it was the most difficult hole that I ever dug...

    og said...
    Sorry for your loss.

    The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.
    -Mark Twain's Letter to W. D. Howells, 4/2/1899
    Elisson said...
    A beautiful post, the writing of which, I hope, helped you through a difficult time.

    It is a hard, hard thing to say goodbye to a friend. Sometimes physical labor gives your thoughts a place to go while you prepapre to do so.
    KeesKennis said...
    My sincere condolences.
    Beautiful writing.
    I have through my life always aplied the following stance.
    "If times are tough or life smacks you upside the head, then bend your back and work harder"
    It works for me

    Thank you
    Anonymous said...
    I found my dog dead Saturday morning. She had taken her last beta blocker with breakfast that morning and I was making a trip to the vet to get her some more. I dig the hole Saturday. It's been five days and I've not left the house because once I walk out I don't want to walk back in.
    I dug a grave through three foot of rock to get to the four foot I wanted. I busted the handle off my shovel, my mattock was too big and I ended up with a spud bar and a post hole digger to finish it off. My head ached from crying and my stomach was sick from not eating.
    I googled, broken shovel/grave/superstition and your blog came up. I was really looking for a sign of what graves and broken shovels might mean? Now I know. I'm not alone in my grieving .
    Anonymous said...
    To you, Rosanne, and to "Anonymous"....

    .... you've both my sincere and heartfelt condolences.

    Only six months ago, I too, dug the hardest hole. And like Anon, I was quite literally delerious with screaming grief, choked on my own bile and tears, and like you Rosanne, absolutely driven to make my hole worthy of my beloved Ariel.

    Her brother Harley sits on my lap as I type this, and I've no doubt, he knows why I yet weep.

    God love you, ma'am. And your Aegis, forever.


    Sloop New Dawn
    Galveston, TX
    Rosie said...
    Thank you all so much for your understanding and condolences. I know that sometimes it feels strange that we would be so grief-striken by the loss of an animal...sometimes the grief is even more than what we would feel for a human. But we show our animals parts of ourselves that we keep secret from people. They become the keepers of our whispered dreams. And that is quite a large thing to lose.

    To Anonymous and anyone else who is going through the grief process, know that you are not alone. I highly recommend
    The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
    . They have scheduled chat rooms and are a wonderful support network for anyone who is going through this.

    Hugs. Rosie
    Jeff said...
    I am also sorry for your loss. As Pedro said, it is one of the most unfair things in life that our pets have such short lives.

    I know it is certainly the one thing I will have the most difficulty with.
    Libby Spencer said...
    What a sad and beautiful post. Sorry you lost your friend but what a gorgeous tribute.

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