Friday, April 24, 2009

Yard Work

Sumission for: The Center of the Earth on Inspiration Underground

It cost five bucks for Mr. Lewis to sharpen my shovel. I didn’t know they did that at the lumber yard until today. It was funny watching him do it; his tongue half hanging out of his mouth, eye brows pinched together, and he didn’t even bother to wear safety goggles. My god, he was probably one hundred years old. I was waiting for him to combust when the sparks started flying.

It didn’t happen.

I needed the shovel to dig out a tree stump. My husband had hired day laborers to cut down and haul off most of the mangled tree in our backyard. It was half dead, half charred from lightening strike, and half blocking my view from the back window of our newly acquired home.

Buying a shovel AND having it sharpened made me feel like some sort of badass; maybe even a superhero. As soon as I got home with my new purchase, I headed to the back and immediately started digging into what was left of my arch nemesis.

“Come on! You know you wanna,” I pleaded as I dug my blade into the crackling timber. Driving it deeper with my foot-to-shovel action, prying away what I could, and tossing it into a pile. “Don’t be so damn stubborn!”

Crack. A large chunk of the rotting trunk wiggled free and I pried below the surface of the yard into a massive root core. I fell onto my knees and began peeling loose wood from the cracks and feeling deeper into the hole now in the place where the ugly tree once stood.

Pushing and pulling, attempting to loosen root, I became entangled. The more I pulled, the more the roots tugged me into them. Before I could event get back onto my feet I was shoulder deep into wet earth with my forehead pressing hard into the splintered remainders of the tortured tree trunk.

Deeper it tugged. Dirt caked in my nose and mouth; I wasn’t breathing. I could feel the wet warmth of the slick mud envelope me as I kept sliding south. I felt large masses gliding on either side of me; pushing and pulling me in different directions. Forcing me into my place among them where I fit like a puzzle piece. Undulating and throbbing as one, like a massive heart circulating earth in the planet’s core.

I woke up, barefoot in my soggy flowerbed. An earthworm rested on the top of my right foot, I kicked it away, and ran back in through my open back door.

We hadn’t had the chance to install the precautionary locks… for my sleepwalking.

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