The Dig

When we first went to Taemas, we had neither money nor water, so we had to have a hole-in-the-ground loo. My father sited it on the edge of the ridge behind the house. Digging it was a major undertaking. The Boys (as we collectively called my father and brothers) attacked it like the beginnings of an archaeological dig. A hole, one and a half metres square, that went straight down. All they unearthed was limestone rocks.

breaking stone
to find the critters
a child geologist 

white rock
the child finds
sand dollars

They were up to their hips when they hit rock. Solid limestone. But there is some crazy streak of determination in my family, so they kept digging.
Dad said, 
‘It would be good to know the strata of the soil.’
Soil it wasn’t, they broke rock for another two metres. Goodness knows what they wanted to find.
‘Oh, well,’ said Dad, ‘at least we won’t fill it up for a while.’ But the very first wet season it filled up to the level of the rock and never drained. It didn’t matter; it saw us out.

Dad and Dave (not kidding, that was their names) built a three-sided tin shed around it, with a canvas for a door. Not that there was anyone in any direction to see, so when the poddy calf sheltered there to escape the rain, and ate the door, it didn’t matter. We had the best view of any toilet.

on the loo
a small child


Haibun Thinking: Week 2 – January 28th 2014                  

17 thoughts on “The Dig

  1. Hi Belinda, another gem. I love your real unaffected style, you bring me right into your happenings, I’m standing there watching them dig the hole..and I am that child swinging my legs humming on the loo. The definition of haiku and haibun to my mind in that you present the image/memory as a gift for others to see and feel with their own minds and senses..which I think you do !!……….*

    1. Thanks Nichole, a lovely comment. I think most writing is better if it does what you suggest, but especially memoir, fiction, and poetry. Studying haiku has helped me in this regard. If I was teaching, I would start with haiku.
      Cheers, B

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