Saturday, July 6, 2013

That Giant Hole in the Backyard - Is It Yours?

Late in my first marriage, my husband began to dig a hole in the backyard.  When friends came over to chat or party, he soon had them digging too.

The swing set kept moving further and further back.  By the time I blasted my way out of the sand trap of my marriage, the hole must have been at least 12-feet wide, 16-feet long, and 9-feet deep.  I should have surrounded it with rope and danger signs.  

I left.  Then he left.  The hole stayed.  Eventually I was able to move back into my house and start anew.

One night - a knock on the door:

     "That hole in the yard - is it yours?"

---  Was I breaking the law?  Will I be arrested?  I'll admit nothing.

     "I live around the corner," the friendly man said.  "My yard backs onto your yard.  I noticed the hole out there and I was wondering if you needed it for anything."

---  A graveyard?  A bomb shelter?

     "No, not especially."
     "I ripped up my old driveway to build a new one.  I need to get rid of a lot of gravel, asphalt, and soil.  Could I dump it in your hole?  I could take the fence down and just push everything into the hole with my tractor."

Once again, the universe stepped up to the plate.


I said, “Stop smashing glass!!”
He said, “I’m angry.  What do you want me to do?”
“When you’re angry,”  I said, “go dig a hole.”

So he began to dig          and dig          and dig.

He told the neighbours he was digging a fishpond –
then          a well              a pool          a crater
digging until he forgot why he was digging
digging and digging till the hole filled the yard

“Don’t fall in,”
I told our daughter as she made her way to the back
where the swings still stood
amid the mounds of stone and soil
excavation of madness
archeology of pain


He came home all excited from work one day
with a 20-foot I-beam
Three friends pulled it off his truck
Carried it to the back, laid it next to the hole –
“This’ll come in handy,” he said.  “It’ll hold up a ceiling.
I can build a garage.  You don’t find these every day,
that’s for sure.”


I never understood the I-beam or why we needed one,
but there it was in the yard:
The giant, yearning I-beam
and the vast, empty hole
side by side -- 
my marriage.

Years went by and the hole became a garden.  I sold the I-beam for $100.

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