The voice had told me to find a desolate spot far outside the city. It had to be away from the people, away from the traffic, away from the noise. I needed quiet it told me.
Stupid sedimentary life has made walking such a long distance such a pain and it’s even harder with this heavy shovel.
I'd been following the power lines for the past hour or so.
These huge towers are amazing. Like those funny looking insects, praying mantis I think they’re called, lined up through the stretching desert. But what are those red balls attached to the power lines for? Never quite figured that out. They remind me of those spongy red kickballs. Yeah, kickball was fun, especially in the 4th grade. That Patrick could really kick the ball hard and he wasn’t even that big. If I could have kicked that hard, I would have been so popular.
Where am I going? Should I stop here? Nope, let me see if I can get even further out, away from the distractions. Is that even possible? It’s already pretty calm out here.
In fact, this silence is seriously annoying. It’s just so quiet and I really can’t stand it. Never understood what ‘deafening silence’ meant until now. I guess I’ve gotten so used to having that background noise, the kids, the cars, the TV. This silence is really driving me crazy.
I vented out a loud scream and nothing. Not a peep. The vast, open desert simply absorbed the sound.
OK, this is freaky.
I continued trudging along until I found the spot. Not sure how I knew, but it seemed to be right. I surveyed the area and noticed some scrawny bushes and a few scattered rocks. All I heard was the faint whistling of the wind blowing across my ears.
How do these tiny shrubs get enough water to survive? Must be a source of water underneath feeding these plants. That irrigation system setup on Abujee’s farm back in Pakistan sure was cool. I wonder if I could ever live on a farm.
Putting the shovel to the side, I started clearing out the shrubs and kicking aside the bigger rocks.
Haven’t really dug much in my over-urbanized life, but I know that digging is made easier when the ground is cleared away.
Damn it! Stupid bushes have some really sharp thorns. I need some gardening gloves. Great! I got a splinter stuck right between my thumb and index finger. At least it didn’t go all the way in.
Having cleared out enough space to start digging, I picked up the shovel and struck the ground. The first blow reverberated through my entire upper body.
Stupid ground isn’t soft at all. No rain has visited these solid grounds for months, maybe even years. (Deep sigh) This is gonna be a long day.
Instead of throwing aside heaps of dirt at a time, I was stuck chipping away at the ground. With the noon sun beating down on my feeble body, I kept at it for several hours, but with a slow, deliberate pace. I paused when my salty sweat trickled into the sides of my mouth.
Spit that nasty sweat out, you disgusting bum. Isn’t piss and perspiration made of the same substance? Note to self: Don’t drink your own sweat. Don’t I have more important things to do? This’ll seriously take so much time. Speaking of which, what time is it anyway? The sun’s gotten a bit dull and the heat is beginning to wane. Must be around 3 or 4pm. That’s when I normally come home from work and play with the kids. Kids can be so difficult to raise. How did my parents happen to get it so right with me? After all, I never did drugs or sex, so I must be on the right path. Right?
Hours passed before I finally reached some soft earth. Now we’re talkin’. With sweat dripping off the tip of my nose, I finally hit a groove. I even had the proper form: ‘bend at the knees not the back,’ they always say. A respectable mound of dirt was building up by my side.
Then at one point, the dirt started to feel heavier. And I wasn’t just getting tired. It really was getting heavier. Like it was more dense. Sure, my shoulders were aching and the muscles in my arms were burning, but how could the dirt just get heavier?
Should I stop here? What exactly am I digging for? Nah, I must keep going. I need to do this. Besides, it wouldn’t hurt my fat ass to get some exercise every once in a while.
So with my shirt soaked with sweat and my gym pants starting to stick to my legs, I plugged away at the dirt.
And then all of a sudden, my extreme fatigue completely overwhelmed me. Not just physically, but also mentally. I became convinced that all this was an exercise in futility. I looked up and noticed the setting sun.
Oh well, it’s getting dark and I’m not ready to stay the night out in the middle of nowhere. I guess I’ll come back some other time to finish the dig.
Part 1 - The Beginning
Part 2 - The Discovery
Part 3 - Memories
Part 4 - The Opening
Part 5 - The Caretaker
Saturday, April 18, 2009