The previous owner, who bought the house at bankruptcy auction to “flip” it, plunked four lonely bushes in each bed, and poured rock–light-colored in one bed and red lava rock in the other–to prevent weeds.
I knew immediately that I wanted to remove the rock; I figured it only went an inch or two deep. Stones get too hot in the summer and overheat the plant roots, and weeds grow voraciously anyway and are the dickens to get out. So we began removing the lighter rock first. It turns out that this was not the first load of rock dumped into this bed! There seem to be generations of them. And the surrounding soil is, well, not exactly feathery light. Stab the long forked tool into the ground, heave on the end of it to turn up a chuck of almost-pottery-clay, and up pop at least twenty or thirty rocks, average an inch or more in size. They go at least two-thirds of a foot down–the length of my handy tool. At least that’s what we’ve discovered so far.
This undertaking is such a wonderful metaphor for the earliest patterns I’m working with; they are imbedded in thick, sticky clinging, and they lie the dark until life unearths them. Then they need to be dealt with–with care. I greet each rock as as long lost friend, welcome it out of the earth, put it in the wheelbarrow with its companions so it can be reused (but not by us!) and wish it well.
We’re removing the larger rocks first. Then will come sifting, using the tray my husband built. Subtler patterns yet to be unearthed.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2012