The House Project

Digging Deep

At the age of 32 I have attempted my hand at gardening, and I actually like it.  It’s very therapeutic.  My  Mama always enjoyed working out in the yard, and I could have helped her when I was younger, but I never had any interest.  I think I understand now why she liked it so much.

The house ...

It’s kind of like golf.  I never understood why people enjoy golfing so much.  Trying to hit a little ball with a big club seems stressful to me, but I’ve been told that it’s actually the opposite.  Because you focus so much on hitting that little ball there’s no room for thinking about the horrible day you had at work on Friday or the people that seem to take pleasure in attempting to make your life miserable. When I’m out in the yard digging up dirt and planting new life, it’s refreshing; it’s peaceful.  It’s the beginning of a new chapter.

Lately it seems I have begun to dig deeper within myself.  Like with this blog for instance.  Each time I write I expose another little piece of me and learn a little bit more about who I am. 
... becoming a home
… becoming a home

And as I work steadily in the yard infusing new beauty to make the house my home, I am at peace enjoying another side of me, of life, and beginning a new journey.  We all have our own way of digging deep, and though it might be scary to face all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly – this crazy circle of life would be incomplete without it. 

I have always enjoyed digging with my pen to explore the colors of my soul, and now I will take pleasure in digging with my shovel, my pick, my rake … to further discover the beauty and the peace of what lies ahead.
As I drove into work this morning thinking about writing about my new found hobby, I thought of one of my favorite poems by Seamus Heaney called “Digging” which inspired me to write this post.  For those of you who are not familiar with the poem, I’ve included it for your reading enjoyment:


Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; as snug as a gun.


Under my window a clean rasping sound

When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:

My father, digging. I look down


Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds

Bends low, comes up twenty years away

Stooping in rhythm through potato drills

Where he was digging.


The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.


By God, the old man could handle a spade,

Just like his old man.


My grandfather could cut more turf in a day

Than any other man on Toner’s bog.

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up

To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, digging down and down

For the good turf. Digging.


The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head.

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.


Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.

 Seamus Heaney  (1939-)
 from Death of a Naturalist (1966)

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