Keith Ferrell's Landlessons

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bartleby the Boulder

An old joke:

The first time I stood on the edge of the meadow where I planned my garden, I tossed a rock as far as I could.

When I began to prepare the garden I was amazed at how quickly that little rock had sprouted, and how productive it had been!

I have been long-accustomed to the rock piles that accumulate as I open up new beds or planting areas. And I've developed a a familiar, even practiced approach to extricating the rocks and stones I encounter. My "new ground kit" includes two shovels (wide blade, and narrow, angled, and pointed trenching shovel), a mattock, a pick, a pry bar (that's only rarely been needed.

The kit and I have dealt with everything from run-of-the-mill(stone), palm-sized rocks, to grapefruit sized stones. Some offer more resistance than others, but few resist for long.

But we may have met our match.

When my shovel blade, about two inches into the ground,  first encountered what I have come to think of as "Bartleby the Boulder," I dropped into what I assumed would be my familiar pattern --

  • find the edges 
  • find the depth 
  • excavate until a bottom edge is located 
  • pry out
  • add to pile

Still working on the first three, and am doubtful of the fourth, have abandoned the fifth. Bartleby will have higher purpose than just being part of a pile, or even a pile unto himself, once I remove him from his lodgings.

But I may leave him there, expose as much of him to the sun as possible, and work around him. My garden stone, Bartleby.

The more I think about it, the more I think that Batrtleby stays in place. I have (next to) no doubt that I could move him. But, as his namesake said more than once, "I would prefer not to."

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