March 28, 2011

* Diggin' Through Solid Rock

In Canada there is a lot of big machinery on building sights.  I never heard one motor as this house was being built.  If we asked someone to come and dig us a hole for a tree north of the border, expectations would dictate a back hoe.  If they knew it was solid rock they would be breaking through, at least a lowly jack hammer would be in order.

This is Felix.  He is a lovely, gentle young man with a wife and four children.  He's a good worker, and works hard.  He speaks English, because as an orphan is was adopted into a 'gringo' home.  A few days ago, he and his wife came to clean my studio after the construction, and help me move some of my 'stash' upstairs.  They did a wonderful job.  I had also asked Felix to begin digging a hole in my jardin where I could place good soil to plant a tree.  Little did I know, about three inches below the surface was solid bedrock.  He chipped the first few inches out with a pick axe.  He then explained he would come back tomorrow with a 'tool' which would be able to deal with the rock.  Somehow in my brain I envisioned a 'tool' with a plug on the end. (silly me)  Felix showed up at 8:00 the next morning with something which looked very Medieval.  A very long, solid iron pole, taller than himself, with a wicked, pointed, sharp end on it.  There was no plug in sight.  I watched him pounding that pole into the rock time after time.  Such a repetitive primal movement.  The rhythmic pounding stirred something very primitive deep inside me.  It was comforting, it was basic, it was 'the old ways'.   It took him three hours of hard labour.  The hole is not finished.  It will probably take him another three hours to dig down deep enough for a tree to survive.  He is happy to have the work.  He is proud he was able to get through the rock.  It pleases him that I am happy with his work.  Life is so different here.

Finally, it may be said that by living in a foreign country, people are able to establish a greater understanding between nations. That is to say, by working and living among foreigners, some of the barriers between countries can be broken down, helping to create a more peaceful world. Needless to say, better diplomatic relations would be of benefit for all.  (excerpt from an article on leaving your homeland for a foreign country by  Cristina Nuta)


  1. Hi Donna! I think we can learn a lot from people like your Felix. And one of them is not giving up in face of obstacles, and the other is that hseer, hard work and effort solve a lot of problems! Look at all the wonders of antiquity - like the pyramids - all made wihout machines.
    I wish you a lovely day in your lovely house, enjoy your people and the sunshine, and stay as thoughtful as you are. Hugs, Valerie
    PS Internet craziness is definately catching, thank goodness!

  2. Not as different as you might think! In January, we put a "French drain" in our backyard (had not heard that term before)to prevent future flooding. We got some workers to dig the trench from a local corner where they hang out waiting for work. These guys spoke pretty good English and were skilled in several areas, but low on work and happy to get anything, even ditch-digging. Had the same problem - running into rock! I guess the difference is my husband went and rented a jackhammer for them to complete the job. I was happy we were able to give them a little bit of employment and a good lunch! There are a lot of good workers out there just waiting for an opportunity. So sad, but it's nice when you can help a little bit!

  3. Great photo! Moving upstairs??? Does that mean your art will now be created in your new studio? I'm so excited for you.

    Take care of that cough.


  4. Hi all .. thanks for coming to visit. YES, Carolyn ... I am in the process of moving on up. they are still working up there, but I am trying to get organized in the meantime.

  5. Hi..You will be happy to know I have one of those tools (I can't remember what it is called). I have moved lots of hard pan with that and a pick axe. There are a lot of places machinery doesn't fit. The problem with that kind of work is it wrecks your body. I can't do any of it anymore. I agree with Felix though- hard work can be gratifying.

  6. Gosh, I have missed so much, I know. Your life continues to be so interesting and rewarding. I hope I can be around more often!


  7. That is indeed hard labour.
    I love your quote today...I agree.