It's the hottest week of the summer and one of our jobs has been digging down a foot deep into the ground beside the studios. Sara and I, at the beginning, were filling more buckets with sweat than we were with dirt. “Tank tops should have been a necessity” is what we learnt when, mid-week, Sara showed me her farmers tan. But we didn’t know any better at the time. Sara swings the pick axe, far enough away from me that I don’t have to remove it from my head, while I shovel the loosened dirt into buckets. The wheelbarrow can only hold two buckets at a time, so back and forth we went from the studios in the centre of the property to the edge of the property to dump buckets of dirt. I felt like a robot but if I was I would.
Over the weekend we forgot about this job and settled into the swing of everything. From making meals together to playing card games, everything seemed so calm even on the hottest days.
Then came the holiday Monday, which wasn’t a holiday for us but we didn’t mind. Working around The Cedars just seemed natural to do instead of seeming like forced labour. Monday was hot, once again. You could hear a lone cicada screaming at us to get out of the heat, but we had to dig up that dirt. Sara with the pickaxe again, I head the steady pattern of CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK, as I shovel up the loose dirt in to buckets that once again could be filled up with the sweat from our bodies (I know, gross right?)
As I’m coming back from dumping the first two buckets of dirt, I listen to the melodic sound of CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK, SLANG. Coming over to see what the noise had come from, Sara and I realize in the same moment that it’s a rock. Not a big deal right? Rocks are easy to get out and can be moved no problem. Wrong. This rock had to be as heavy as Sara and I combined, while also looking like the continent of Africa. This continental rock stood between us and finishing the job before the sun rose over the trees and started cooking us alive. Together, we begin to dig around the rock, it getting bigger and bigger each time we look.
“CHANDRA” I yell, the usual call of “we need help, what the heck do we do with this”.
This rock, the continent of Africa rock would not move with just our muscles even though we are totally body builders that have a strength of 20 Vikings. We use the shovels and all of our body weight to lift this thing out of the ground. Of course if didn’t work, but Sara was determined. With the strength of a determined woman (too strong to even comprehend), she begins to lift the rock from one end herself. I was in awe, but just as she began to lift it enough that we could help, a huge chunk broke off in her hands and the rock was once again on the ground. Looking at the rock again, it looked like we just broke South Africa off of the continent all together. With this piece off, we were able to lift it enough on to a trolly to be able to pull it over to the dirt drop off area on the other side of the property. Chandra and I pulling the trolly, no conversation but we could understand each other by the wheezing pants we both exhaled. We were tired, hot, and in need of water desperately. The rock was dropped off, or well, rolled off the trolly and we were free.
Since that job was over for the day, we needed to cool down. Walking back to cookhouse I see a glimpse of the great blue lake, shimmering in all its glory. I had to get in that lake right now. So Sara (with a bit of persuasion) and I both ran and jumped in to the lake with our sweat covered clothes on and luckily neither of us got heat stroke that day.
In conclusion, wear tank tops, teamwork can honestly make even moving a boulder fun, and sometimes you just have to jump into a lake. And of course, two days later we find an even bigger boulder, attempting to get it out we realize that it’s not going to happen even with our insane intern strength. That’s the job for Jim and his truck. Either way, those two days rocked (pun intended).
by Matt Scully