Monday, April 4, 2011

Digging Holes


Last night I dreamed I was looking for kindling. I found some under the walnut tree at the west end of the house where I grew up. But it was wet, and it was not enough. And there was no firewood.

Paging through my book, One Hand Clapping, I found this entry:

April 6, 2003 — When I was a kid, I used to dig holes in the shade of the walnut trees growing by our house. My intention was always to live in them; when that didn’t work, I settled for long afternoons. My main occupation was reading old issues of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. One hole, I remember, had a fireplace. The chimney was formed by driving an old metal horseshoe peg into the clay soil. All I had to do was light a few leaves, twigs, or pine needles, and then watch the smoke rise up through the chimney. Paradise. And I’m still quite good with a shovel. But now I usually dig my holes on paper — that is, when I’m not digging them by the stupidity of my actions. Sometimes I succeed in combining the two. This is always cause for celebration. Several years ago, we were told by the landlord of the house we were renting that the holes my children had dug in the backyard would have to be filled in. I said, “But they’re holes. Kids are supposed to dig holes. Didn’t you dig holes when you were that age?” His answer amazed me: “I did, but my father always made me fill them in.” And I thought, What a sad thing.


11 comments:

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

yes this was a sad thing, his father stopped his fantasie...

Transcend Designs said...

I think the true purpose of our existence here is to learn to NOT be the Father who makes your son fill in the holes he had so much fun digging....

William Michaelian said...

As simple as that, yes. Thanks, Brad. Thank you, Laura.

Stream Source said...

Mud pies... hiding behind the lilac bush - just enough room to fit between it and the fence. Lots of freedom digging... no one knew what we were up to until we came out. Sometimes with mud smudges at the corners of our mouths. Those pies just looked so good !

William Michaelian said...

Beautiful. When she was about ten, our daughter invited a little neighbor boy to try one of her freshly made mud pies. He thought it was quite good. I think it might have been the pine needle crust. But the flecks of gravel were a nice touch too.

Anthony Duce said...

Enjoyed the read, and the memories. Most of the holes I dug, and some I still seem to dig, I eventually had/have to fill again.

William Michaelian said...

Well, I suppose it’s the decent thing to do. That way innocent bystanders are less likely to fall in. But sometimes it’s hard to scoop fast enough. That’s been my experience, anyway.

lines n shades said...

just found your blog. glad to be here.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you. And I just found yours...

erin said...

oh my. apparently i have been a bad, bad parent:( perhaps it has to do with the size of land? i hope this is so. we've only a corner lot in town. but i itch for country with, if not walnut trees, then at least holes.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

In certain instances, if the holes will undermine the integrity of your dwelling, it is permissible to limit their number to thirty-seven and their depth to ten feet.