I’ve been in a ditch with Earl and Anthony all week. It’s not really a ditch but it’s deep and big enough to call it that or a bunker or even a hiding spot to take a smoke break from the boss.
I haven’t let loose of a shovel for most parts of the week. I’ve been helping my boss, Anthony, start his foundation for his house that he is building. The ditch I’m referring to is actually footings dug for concrete that will be poured tomorrow for Anthony’s future home. The view from the ditch I’ve stood in all week digging is magnificent. Thirty-eight acres of hills and tall trees are spotted over the pasture land as horses graze beneath the barn in a grass field while I sweat and cuss as I listen to Earl tell stories; he’s a hell of a storyteller.
I’ve spotted a hawk fly over us and call out to a rabbit or possibly even me. It’s nice out here. It’s actually about a mile to where I was raised so I think Anthony is gonna like living out here.
I think and hope he likes these damn footings we dug on all week with a shovel. The measurements have been stuck in my head: two feet wide and twenty-eight inches deep. No machine was cranked up for this event, just three guys and three shovels. Grade stakes were hammered into the ground as measurements for the depth of concrete to be poured. We also laid bridges for the rebar that was bent and shaped to match each form of the footing that outlines the house.
Several other things happened this week. I played guitar and milked cows too. I’ll do it again more this weekend. I wished I worked this hard in a room alone with my mind and thoughts…maybe with some good music playing. I’ve gotta find some time to write.
A gravel road will take my attention away from writing some nights when I get off work. I like a gravel road better than an old county road; both sights give you memorable sounds and views. But the one I like has no lines to follow. I try to find a gravel road and ride it. I like the sounds of the gravel crunching under my tires. The pine trees hovering over my head on a dark road with the tall sage grass growing in the ditches outside of my truck and view make my mind rest. My windows are rolled down and my radio is loud. I light up a cigarette and the smoke flows out of my mouth and out my window with my thoughts.
When the asphalt turns to brown or white rock, my mind eases, I think, but my thoughts are good. Life is good. Dogs will bark from a fence line and old beat-up trucks will dim from a light pole. You’ll know the type of truck it is from the shape instead of its emblem. Lighting bugs will dash out in cattle fields and some will land on a windshield. Cotton fields will glow with a good crop as the soybeans prepare to stand tall. Deer will scamper and rabbits will hide, a possum here and a possum there. Houses and homes will be dark from the flicker of a switch for bedtime. But the road I’m on doesn’t have a bedtime. It always welcomes me; it doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in either.
The other thing that chases my mind away from my focus to write is my focus at Tula. I can’t help but to look at the pond when I pull up from work and daylight is still shining, reflecting across my eyes. The dock draws me near and I sit down. I don’t move. I look and listen, then I drift. I can escape from the whole day and my body isn’t aching anymore. Nothing bad is on my mind and the wind blows this smooth breeze across my face, the pond’s water and then through the leaves that wrap our setting as frogs and bugs bellow their calls to my ear. I leaned back in one of the chairs on the dock and I’m happy to be here, happy to be in Tula.
I don’t really know what I wanna do tonight. I got off work early and ran a few errands in Oxford and to Abbeville. I need to either practice guitar for some gigs this weekend or maybe write a story. I could clean the house or go visit a friend or my family. I could go visit with my Mama or just sit at the house and rest too.
My windows are down and I hear a dog barking. The music is good…
I gotta find time to write.
Shane Brown is a HottyToddy.com contributor and the son of noted author Larry Brown. Shane is an Oxford native with Yocona and Tula roots. Shane is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He has two children — Maddux, age 9, and Rilee, age 7 — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.