Oil, diamonds, and treasure chests

Today, I visited Zula Kickbusch, a 90-year old lodge sister who is dying. She was alert, cheerful, and under no delusion that she will survive. Indeed, I got the impression that she is eager to get death out of the way. Whether this is because she is weary of life or expects to awaken in heaven, I cannot say. She had other visitors, so I couldn’t question her as I would have liked.

I came home and dug some more in a hole in the backyard. I started the hole three years ago simply to see what things were like down below. I stopped at five feet, partly because of the stubbornness of the clay, partly because of Peggy’s objections to having a pit in the yard, and partly because I would have needed to enlarge the opening to go deeper. I had hauled the dirt away, so I refilled the hole with a mixture of compost and basalt. Last week, I resumed digging for no better reason than I started the first time. I was excited to find mussel shells at the four foot level, and I left off today at 64 inches.

Now, I find myself in the same dilemma I was in three years ago. If I enlarge the hole enough that I can work in it, I either have to store the dirt or haul it away. I could store it with the thought that it would only be temporary, but digging through the local clay is no easy matter, and I would expect to keep going until stopped by water at around fifteen feet. Such a depth would require that I shore up the opening, and I can’t justify such measures for no practical reason other than the prospect of finding oil, diamonds, or a treasure chest.