Women are bringing coffee in mugs to the road crew. They've barely made a dent in the tree trunk, and they're giving up. It's a job for power tools; the water's going down anyway, and the danger is past. Some kid starts doing tricks on a skateboard; I head home.
Dillard joins a crowd of people watching a road crew at work. Tinker Creek is flooding, and a tree has washed up against a bridge. The tree has to be removed, or property may be damaged. And, as with any situation that promises potential disaster, it attracts a crowd of onlookers. Sort of like when residents of Washington D.C. rode out into the countryside in carriages and on horseback to watch one of the first battles of the Civil War. As if it was a three-ring service.
There's a lot of construction going on in my hometown right now. Streets are torn up and blocked off. Traffic is slow. When I go to work in the morning, I never know what I'm going to encounter. New potholes. New closures. Sometimes traffic barrels smashed and in the road. And the road crew moving tractors and trucks into place.
I don't have time to stop and watch the work. I simply catch the before and after each day. Before the work begins and after it ends. I'm always amazed by work crews. For months, these guys and gals look as if they're accomplishing nothing. They simply push piles of gravel and dirt from one place to another. Then, near the end of construction season, suddenly miracles happen. Buildings sprout up overnight. Paved roads and roundabouts appear. Two lanes become four lanes.
Writing sometimes goes like that for me. I struggle and push words around, day after day. Sentences are put in place, moved, taken apart, put back together. I get up in the morning, and there's a blank page. At the end of the day, there may be a new paragraph or stanza. If I'm really lucky, a poem or essay or story will eventually emerge.
That's where I am this weekend. Like the road crew, I've been moving dirt around for a few weeks. Laying down gravel and asphalt. Tomorrow or Sunday, I'm hoping to be done with my current writing project. It would be a nice Father's Day gift to myself.
I haven't been feeling like much of a writer recently. Aside from these blog posts (which don't really count), I haven't produced a whole lot of written work recently. I'm hoping that all the pieces are going to fall into place somehow.
That's Saint Marty's hope--he needs to move a tree trunk, as Dillard says.