Thursday, Auggie 31, 41 A.B.
So they're building this new house behind me. Last week they dug the basement. This week they poured the concrete for the basement walls. Today they coated the outside of these currently freestanding basement walls with a thick, water-proofing substance the color of duct tape. Soon they'll pour the basement floor, and use the huge mounds of crushed gravel (recently disgorged by dump trucks) to fill in the space between the outside of the basement walls and the clay that had previously been undisturbed since the last glaciers went through here some years before my birth....
I once came across some quote that went like this: "The most private thing in the world is the inside of an egg before it is cracked." It struck me as spooky profound - for about 5 seconds. Then it struck me as painfully naive.
Private places abound. They're all around us, everyday. We pass trees with unseen cores during every walk and drive. We live in houses with hollow walls, the insides of which we never see. We see the surface layer of our faces all the time in our mirrors and oddly forget that we have intestinal curves as distinctive as our noses just because we have never taken the time to get to know them, let alone apply make-up to their splotches.
We tread upon the uppermost layer of the earth and ignore the fact that thousands of miles of solidified darkness exist beneath our every step.
A new house with a new basement has a way of bringing it all back into focus, if only for a day. I blushed looking into the hole, for it seemed like an embarrassingly open wound. I gazed in awe at the mounds of clean white gravel as it teetered on an upright pinpoint of time. On one side lay millions of years in some faraway land formation which I shall never know; on the other lay decades (at least) to be spent hard up against the forgotten side of some cellar rec room, workshop, or shadowy storage area owned by people I'll never kiss. I just happened to stumble along at one of the few moments in all history when sunlight was allowed to penetrate the shallowest depths of this place and illuminate the edges of these select few bits of rock.
Teetering on the edge of subterranean realizations, I returned home and watched an episode of "Jeopardy!" I'd seen once before.
"Who is John Marshall!" I successfully bellowed at Alex the instant "Final Jeopardy!" began and felt myself smart....
Now, in the dead of night, I feel the urge to surreptitiously plant cocoa seeds beneath the light of ancient stars, then come the morning casually wander over and ask construction workers if they need any marshmallows yet for the brew they're unknowingly mixing up.
the full geologic record
tomorrow's gently settling dust
(©Between Birth and Death by that tangled mess of energy and matter
sometimes referred to by speakers of English as one Dan Birtcher)