The Zen Of Trenching

Thursday, 10 July 2003, 9:26 | Category : Life
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I haven’t had the energy for political rants lately. Or the collectiveness of mind that would let me say anything beyond “Republicans blablabla…”. What I’ve been doing is going home after work, almost every day for the past several weeks, and working in the yard. The latest project was a 130′, 20″ deep, 6″ wide trench for the electricians to run the power line for the pool pumps and (hopefully) my new workshop. I rented a Ditch Witch from the local Home Depot, and soon discovered that while it works great on level, dry ground without roots or hard packed clay, once you get outside those parameters, it becomes a very different beast.


Hitting roots, and I mean a concentration of roots, not just a few, with one of these will teach you respect for what 900 pounds of machinery feels like when it wants to go a different direction than you planned. I had to trench past four trees or former trees, and I really wondered at one point whether I would get through it without serious injury. A couple of bruised knees, sore back, and two worn out shoulders were all that resulted, but it was a struggle. Then I hit some soft ground, and watched the thing begin to sink. I was still able to think quickly enough to back it out, but then realized I would have to dig the last 25 feet or so by hand. I was already past tired, but I had to finish. So, I grabbed shovels, my post-hole digger (to remove the loose dirt from the trench – it occurred to me that it might be useful, and I was right), and the best tool of all, a pick axe. I pretty soon fell into the routine of swing-swing-swing-remove the dirt. And as tired as I was, my mind just sort of fell into the pattern and pushed the tiredness and pain away. Zen-like. I finished. I am. It is. That’s enough.

One Comment for “The Zen Of Trenching”

  1. 1Greg

    I don’t know, but dynamite works pretty damned good. The only problem is if you tried to buy it some guys in dark suits and earpieces would take you away.