The following is the 39th poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960
The drainage ditch ran north and south along the front of our house, then headed west along the south side of our property. The ditch in front of our house was already lined with large rocks, and I had just finished hauling enough rock to line the ditch at the corner of our property. As I considered the ditch on the south side of our property, I saw that it would take me another month to haul rock from the open space where the community well and sewage system were located. I decided to ask a sand and gravel company to send a truck to shoot rock to cover the ditch on the south side of the property.
Thinking back on my decision to call a sand and gravel company to help me cover the south side of our property with rock, I wondered whether “the one you don’t see coming” had just come upon me. No. “The one you don’t see coming” had come upon me earlier, in early June when I had volunteered to participate in Vacation Bible School at Clancy UMC, the church I had pastored on an interim basis for three years. I enjoyed the children so much, yet I remembered that I was not able to jump around to the VBS music the way I used to.
Downsized and third time retired,
I watch a truck’s conveyor-belted arm
levered and wheeled remotely to spit
inch-and-a-half rock between cotoneaster
and lilac shrubs and on the sides of the ditch
beside our new place.
The truck driver controls the arm. I sweep
stray stones off the pavement and miss
working alone, using lever and wheel to haul
yards of topsoil to level the ground for sod,
a ton of river rock a barrowful at a time
to cover the bank where columnar spruce grew–
to move heaven and earth with my own back
and simple tools.