Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Retaining Wall is Done. It's Over.

Gaze upon it's magnificence. Gaze until your eyeballs hurt. 
Well I didn't die.

But it wasn't from lack of trying. Since Scott hurt his wrist, I had collected the last two loads of stone by myself . Optimistically, I had ventured out on a cool day, ready to collect the shit out of some rocks. Only to  find there was a problem. The nice rock bar location I had been getting rocks from, aka it's all downhill to the truck from here so I can use the wagon if I want, was pretty much tapped out of the size rocks I needed in areas I could get to with out breaking my ankles. So I was left with one other option, the other side of the rock bar. Which was of course, on the other side of the road, and also downhill from it. Downhill, you guys.

I spent a few moments debating what I should do. Should I take the wagon down there with me? There was a nice sized, but rather lumpy field off to right I could park the wagon in, but I did not think I wanted to pull the wagon all the way back up to the road. Of course this left me with only one option. Carrying the rocks up the hill through the rock bar.

Well fuck.

So that is what I did. Rock by painful motherfucking rock. Some rocks were so big I had to stop two or three times on the way up. I also realized that the trees were smaller and closer together here, meaning there was no easy clear path back up, epically if the rock was wide. But, hey no problem, as I worked my way back into the bar I thought, hey I'll just cut up through the meadow.

That was my second mistake. (The first was thinking this project was a good idea in the first place.)

Well I picked up a rock, and managed to sort of side step my way into the meadow. It rolled out green and level before me, the grasses rippling attractively in the wind. Energized by my path I boldly started out. Or as boldly as anybody waddling along carrying a rock the size of a dead baby sheep could waddle. It was about halfway through that my tired body registered that something was wrong. I was starting to sink.

Oh double fuck.

I had, at that moment, three options. One, I could drop the rock where it would surely sink in some and get super muddy and I just knew I would have to pick it back up at some point anyway cause I would be damned if I was letting this meadow take this from me. Two, I could try to cut back into the woods and hope that I didn't get a tree branch to the eye. Or three, I could go even faster and hopefully I would get clear of the sticky patch.

And by 'get clear' I obviously meant 'get all the way to the road.'

So that's what I did.

It was one of those sheer efforts of will where your whole world narrows down to the rock in your hands and the heavy pull on your shoulders, the dull squishy thud of each boot as it disappears down beneath the grasses, the overly loud whooshing of your breath. The road inching closer and closer with each step.

I don't quite remember getting the rock to the pile, but I do remember setting it down, going straight back into the house, making myself a thermos of the most caffeinated tea* I could find and then going and sitting on the wagon and not moving until I had drank the whole goddamned thing. I sat there on my ass feeling like I had just been kicked in the back a few good times, and thought about it all.

About the fact that I moved out here, from the city. I had lived in one city or another for my entire adult life prior to coming here. And I had had enough of it. I thought about how as a child in the suburbs I had laid on the floor of my room and read the countryside magnetizes my father had bought and fantasized about living out here. About having my own creek and covered bridges and meeting a cow and playing in the woods all day.

Somehow, I had never fantasized about having to build a retaining wall out of giant ass rocks because the driveway was falling into the creek, or that when I met my first cow I would be in a car and it would be in the road around a blind corner. Or that playing in the woods all day would come to mean things like getting kindling. I had never thought that living my dream would mean being completely and utterly exhausted, sitting on a rusty ass wagon in the middle of a field drinking caffeine like it was my last tie to life.

And then I realized something.

I was loving every minute of it. The sun was out, the birds were singing their love songs in the trees, the chickens were wandering up along the road trying to see what I was up to, and white silkily clouds were running across the sky. This was my land. And my rocks and my trees and demon meadow of treachery. And that this was worth more to me that anything in the whole world**

So I drug myself up and got the rest of the rocks. And over the next few days I loaded the fill and dumped it in the hole and we were done. Granted we may add few more capping stones here and there as we find them, but it doesn't need them.

This project took everything I had and then some. It took us an entire month of working on it almost exclusively but we did it. And it looks amazing. It looks like something that has been there for years and year and years.

So to celebrate, and to stop the terrible pains in my back and legs, I did what anybody in my situation would do. I got drunk. Really super sweet Jesus drunk. And then I had a hangover that lasted all of the next day because I really did try to poison my body with alcohol.

I'm sorry liver.

I'm really fucking sorry about that one.


* I can't drink coffee, if you were wondering.
** Sorry Scott, but you're a close second.

Confused? Here's part one. 


  1. Ok, your wall is absolutely gorgeous. Looks like something right out of a nice glossy magazine. You can never ever leave this place. Must stay here forever and admire your work! Seriously, it really is magnificent and I'm so impressed!

  2. Oh I am never leaving this place. (Not even for a dinosaur.) In the end I think all the hard work was worth it. (Kill me)

  3. Its odd that you never dreamed of building a retaining wall. I remember when I was in first grade the teacher asked what we wanted to do when we grew up and I said Build a Badass Retaining Wall. That's not even a little true.

  4. We are getting ready to put up a retaining well as well. And if there is one thing my Jewish mother taught me, it's that why do the work yourself when you can pay someone to do it for you. Hence, that is what we're doing.

  5. so, ive paid homage to your retaining wall over on my site today, finally. Stop by to take a look if you'd like. :)