Jack Hammered

Person with jack hammerI wish I owned a jackhammer. Yes, I’d hate the noise and the fumes, and I surely lack the brute strength it would require. But it would come in oh-so-handy right now. After months of weather so parched my internal organs cracked, the first rain of any substance fell like manna from heaven over the last two days. It pained me that I could do more than stand agape in the front yard, collecting drops on my outstretched tongue—until the stares from the neighborhood dog walkers drove me back inside.

To watch precious water sheet off impervious pavement, with no jackhammer in hand, is a personal torment. The temptation to run into the street and start drilling holes through the pavement is greater than the urge to run screaming when I read my Twitter feed. Punching some holes in the pavement would allow precious water to anoint the soil, replenish the aquifer and feed my beloved Atlas Cedar. I spent enough hours beside a drilling rig in my geologist days that I can well imagine the joy of churning up fresh earth; this time, in the name of all that is eco-good and holy.

Towering some sTreeixty feet over our home, I often wonder how Atlas Cedar can possibly suck up enough water to feed his millions of needles, even when rain falls in abundance. Pinched as he is, between two city streets and our house, his long arms extend over the roof, the driveway and beyond the curb line. So much of the rain that falls at his precious drip line falls on hardscape, only to be whisked away to the storm drain without so much as a fare-thee-well.

To hear out-of-reach water running when I’m parched is as maddening as pulling an empty bottle of Chardonnay out of the fridge. I don’t know how Atlas Cedar can stand, uncomplaining, while watching all that precious sustenance just wash away. But then, that’s just Atlas, ever demonstrating the steadfast patience that I so desperately need to learn.

I do what I can to help, diverting my fruit & veggie wash water out into the yard (even as I dream of a gray water system). My hope that these minuscule contributions could benefit such a great tree at all is delusional, I admit. But such hallucinations are the duct tape that keeps me held together.

Yesterday was trash pick-up day, and our street was trimmed in a row of blue, green, black bins. All the tops were flipped open after emptying, which means they collected a good amount of rainwater. I seriously considered going through the neighborhood (after dark, of course), and dumping the collected water on the drip lines of all our trees.

After two days of hard rain, however, the soil was already so soaked, and I really can’t afford another citation from the Sanity Police. Which brings me back to the jackhammer. Punching holes in the street would no doubt earn me a more serious citation. I’ve watched enough “Orange is the New Black” to know how ill-equipped I am for prison. Where would I be without my special snuggle pillow, my favorite pens or, lest I forget, my emergency stash of Chardonnay?

Good thing I don’t own a jackhammer.

I must content myself with the joy of emptying the rainwater from my own green, brown and blue bins onto the drip line of my beloved Atlas Cedar. It might not add up to much, but it’s what I’ve got to give. That has to count to something. Either that, or it’s another piece of insanity-thwarting duct tape. I’m good with either one.

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  © Cheryl Leutjen