guys from the city are ripping up our street. What a mess. They
start about 7 AM each morning, including Saturdays, when the noise
from the big machines is NOT welcome.
dust is nasty. It covers everything. It's that fine dust that is
kicked up by the slightest breeze. Our patio, which overlooks our
small city, and where we usually like to sit on a warm spring evening,
is no longer safe. Even when the breeze isn't drafting up the hill,
one can't sit on the patio without first cleaning the chairs and
wiping the table. Placing a glass of pop or lemonade on the table
creates that grinding sound that is almost electric, and instantly
sets my teeth on edge.
the crew is actually working our house vibrates. Sometimes the vibrations
are minor, almost below the threshold of human sensitivity. Sometimes
they feel like a small earthquake. At other times the vibrations
feel like someone just pulled into our driveway.. but their brakes
failed and they hit the house. At those moments all the pictures
on the wall jump and the glass in the windows resonates.
hard to know what the finished project will look like. All we have
now is a dirt road, equipment parked everywhere, empty pop cans
and the odd crumpled lunch bag of the workers strewn about the neighborhood.
Ripped up hedges with gaping holes line our street.
purpose of all this? Installation of the sewer line. All the houses
on our street will go "online" in a new way over the next few weeks.
me thinking about change; it's messy. First, you have to tear down
the old structure. It's disorienting. When the dirt is flying you
can't tell which way is up. People are gasping for air.
dangerous. There was a deep trench running along the roadway for
a few days. I wondered what would happen if my wheels just tipped
the edge of the trench. Would the whole car slide in? Was there
a bottom? When would they find me?
chaotic. Equipment is strewn everywhere. Piles of dirt and rock
appear randomly placed. At least, that's how it looks from ground
zero. Maybe it would look different from treetop level.
the contractors have a plan, not everything is predictable. And
the process does not APPEAR planned. There is linearity, but while
they start at the bottom of the hill and work their way up, some
stages require them to go back to the beginning.. like the placement
of the new gravel, and eventually the new pavement. So maybe it's
more like a circle, or a series of connecting circles spiraling
up the hill.
crews learn to respect mystery. They never know what they are going
to find when they dig into the earth. In some places they found
soft soil, in other places stone. At one point they hit something
primordial. Every time the bucket would disappear the bones of our
house rattled and groaned.
happens below the earth? I really don't know. Does the worm population
get disturbed? Do the microbes have any idea what's happening? Do
they have borders they have to replant? Chaos and the unknown engender
fear. Everyone reacts to fear in their own way. Some get angry;
some lock themselves in. Some don't sleep well. Some hang around
and ask questions. Some want answers. Some want the neighborhood
back the way it was.
reactions of people on our street have varied. Though most understand,
some, especially those who have worked hard on maintaining the lovely
green borders of their yards with cedar and juniper hedges, haven't
been as welcoming. They watch as their beloved hedge literally "bites
the dust," limb torn from limb, the roots of the living plant torn
harshly from the earth. Where once was life, now there is bare earth
and pocked moonscape. It isn't always easy to hang on to a vision
of new life.
a shakeup. It's a cultural sea shift. The orienting points aren't
the same. One wonders if the supervisor is using the right map.
Who made the map anyway?
wonders who the supervisor is? These guys all dress the same, sound
the same, wear the same hard hats, the same bright orange vests
with the yellow X.
we'll have a brand new sewer functioning on our hill. The hedges
will grow back. The grass will be replaced, the road repaved. For
a while the road will be smoother than it was before. We might even
spot some new plants and trees along the way. The ditch along the
road will be lined with chunky broken rock, something entirely new
in this area.
neighborhood may never be the same, however. We've met a few more
of our neighbors. It's interesting how chaos can birth community.
a few more weeks, all the messy stuff will be underground, and moving