Okay so this week I was out of work. I got a call from a friend of a friend who needed help putting in a patio. No problem, I think. Paver, sand, gravel, easy. The patio and path is 20x40 and 4x20 feet respectively. Hmmmm, that's pretty big, I wonder if I can do it? I ask my boss. She says sure you can.
So I start working. Lotta raking and shoveling. Delivering yards of sand, 6 tons of material. Leveling, raking, sand, sweat. It goes on for a while. I'm beat. I don't think I can get this level. This is too big. Hell, I can do it. I can do anything.
So yeah. I just decide I gotta get going on putting down the pavers. I do it the way I was shown, labor intensive and not very accurate. Not flat, kind wavy. They have problems with it, say they are not going to pay me for some of the work I did. I freak out a little. Not get paid? Jesus, all that sweat for nothing. And I gotta put gas in the truck, pay for mileage. Am I gonna lose money? They have problems with the levelness and layout. Okay fine, I tell them, we'll talk about it in the morning.
Turns out hubby was a contractor, and he redoes my work overnight. I look at it and go, oh shit, it's way better then my work. So I say to the client, okay you don't have to pay for that work I did. She says Oh but you did do work, so I say fine just pay me a little. I tell her I'm not the right guy for this, she says yeah, she pays me fairly and I leave. So it worked out, but I feel like an idiot.
Why did I think I could do such a big job without that much experience? Humility is a hard trait to learn. I've been taught some lessons. Start small. Be honest and truthful.
I work with stone, dirt, plants, and water. I shovel and tamp and haul and push. My hands are pinched, my back is pulled, and my biceps are stretched.
Standing in the river I see the swift river birds dive and the gulls soar, I see the pitter patter of raindrops on the rushing water, and hope for a fish to bite my lure. I don't really want to kill anything but the fish tastes good.
My blood flows like the river, my bones are worn away like the stones, my muscles bend and sway like the trees in the wind. Sometimes my mind shines like the sun, other times like the moon.
I think about building a house, a wall, a waterfall. Harvesting the vegetables out of the garden takes time. The mind doesn't want to meditate, it wants to jump around and climb mountains. Learning to climb rock would take time. Time, being swallowed by the giant whale of life.
Fall coming up out of the ground like a mushroom. A motif presents itself to me: the Grotto. I remember that I haven't written poetry for awhile, haven't written a song in a year. Have I retreated to the primal cave to resurrect myself?