Digging

What happens—one of the things that happens—is that after a while your heart gets buried. You are the one who buries it. The screaming’s been screamed and the tears have been cried, and there’s really nothing left to do but to dig up the cold wet earth and tamp it back down again, grim and determined under a grey shut down sky. A live wire, deadly with sparks, put out of commission. It’s done, it’s over, it’s gone. You don’t feel anger or hurt or sadness or anything, you just wipe your hands on the back of your pants and throw the shovel in the garden shed, over your shoulder, behind you, beyond.

It’s obvious, at first, where you’ve sunk it. The earth is still wretched and ruined and every now and then there’s a rumble or two, late at night when you’re not sure if it was your heart or your stomach. You change your habits to avoid it, you go out of your way. Things settle down though, somewhat to your surprise: the topsoil evens out and a thin layer of soft grass appears one day in spring without your having done anything about it. You used to treat the site like it was a landmine or a murder scene DANGER DANGER DO NOT ENTER but after a while you can approach it, gingerly, even if you wouldn’t exactly have a picnic there or anything. You can walk on by, you can appreciate the breeze in your hair. Sooner than you would have thought you can even walk over the place on your way to work without glancing at the patterns your footprints have made.

Occasionally you will remember what you put there, and why. You will wonder, as you amble along, what that strange glow is under that patch of grass over there, what that humming noise is. Is something trying to get up and out? Ought you do a little maintenance to make sure everything stays where it’s supposed to?

You could build a fence, you could build a wall. You could build something high and hard and fierce to cover it over. You could avoid the area completely.

Or you could wander over there, next time you happen to pass by. You could have a careful, cautious look. You could peer at the place where you put it and see what’s breaking the surface. You could think about flowers and trees and vines, about everything that blossoms whether you plant it or not. You could stand back and watch whatever it is, whatever it’s going to be, burst up into the light.

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5 comments

  1. Beautiful!

  2. This is a lovely metaphor! Also, I’m really happy that you’re happily awaiting something wonderful.

  3. Your writing is, as always, amazing.

  4. Sahar L-Warren

    wow, I’ve been reading you for years, and I really have to come forward this time and tell you how beautiful this piece of writing is.

  5. You’re an amazing writer, not that you need affirmation from me or anything, but every time I read a post like this I feel my own heart opening up. You’ve definitely got a gift.