A Girl and Shovel

Fourteen thousand pounds of gravel equals ten yards. That seems to be a lot of weight when it comes to a girl, a shovel and holes to fill. But to me it almost seems symbolic as to my life…

20190312_102245I started shoveling to fill one hole from an iceberg of gravel. Pressing myself every time I thought the hole filled to find out I had more to go. So I kept shoveling.

But I noticed another hole and more gravel and more shoveling. As I got about half way down the mound I found my mind wondering to where I am in my life.

Lately I have had to say goodbye to a lot of things and animals that have been with me fifteen to twenty years. Horses that have been my dads, to dreams that have plagued my insignificance as to what I thought I wanted in my life. These are holes that need filled, tended and leveled.

And here I stand on top of a gravel pile looking at it, digging at it one shovel full at a time, lifting it into the truck bed. Building another mound to carry to a hole that needs mended, filled, or excavated to be of equal value or levelness as the ground around it. Shifting, allowing and persuading the ground to accept and adjust to the new material I offer it.

If the ground is to dry or ridged the material will be pushed away and rejected. If the ground is to wet the gravel will be swallowed up into the murky mud of the hole… so I must ask myself, when is enough enough.


Some would say, “get an excavator and a front loader your job will be done in no time…”

From my history as a kid we used to do physical labor, by spade, horse or hand. As I became an adult I found easier ways to do many things and it seems I have taken for granted to very concept of achievement.

I remember my dad watching us in his later years, “ah to be young again”  he was 75 when he go bucked off his last horse… “should of warmed him up a little.” Was his comment in the hospital bed with bruised ribs and a knot on his head.

It brings a smile to my face just thinking of his voice and the ease of his words when things went south. With no pressure on getting things done but the feel of accomplishment that he had. Even when he brought in the wood.

Knowing I could do it in half the time. He would say ” that’s alright Sis I got it.”

“But Pop, why cant I do it for you?” I had asked feeling sorry for his slowness, and my busyness to get things done.

“Because I can, and I want to.” Was his reply.

I look at the mound of gravel that used to be an iceberg of fourteen thousand pounds of rock and dirt, it is now just a mound as I chisel away one shovel full at a time. And I realize the words of my father go deeper to the core now more than before.

There is a groundedness, a fulfillment and a soreness of achievement and of letting go.

“Why am I doing this?” you ask.

“Well, because I can and I want to.”


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