2006-08-19 / Viewpoints

Publisher's Point Of View

Robert Allan Hooftallen

I've a slight sore on my right thumb from digging a hole. And today its shedding skin is the sign of its healing. The days of sore-to-touch are gone. The bottom of right my pocket is reachable without cause for wince. My dominant hand is most of itself.

I am relieved.

Because when the blister hurt, I kept digging. And when the blister was an open, bleeding wound, I kept digging.

And when the digging was through, I felt at odds with that thing in me that refused the protection of gloves and that never considered their comfort.

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of trees there on that piece of land my father left behind. It's sacred ground in my family, after all, and I expected two of them to oblige us- to be close enough; perfect for the hammock we wanted to hang; a hammock that would make a perfect afternoon, carved, however forcibly, into an imperfect world.

The week had met is end. The sun was soft. The sky was blue. Barefoot, we tip-toed around, looking for two trees the perfect distance apart, or near it, given the hammock's design for its forgiveness in exactness.

The search was in vain; almost taunting with its results presenting trees set apart within feet, and in a couple instances, inches, of what we needed.

So, I dug and we put a post where a tree should have been and the hammock hangs today in a place that defies slightly what nature could have offered.

My aggressiveness, brought on both by my desire to hang the hammock and my irritation with the geometry that had prevented it before my digging, was what had kept me from getting the gloves that would have spared me the blister.

Even though the blister is nearly gone, the pinkish area left behind is an interesting reminder of my softness; my weakness. These days behind this desk, combined with the years that won't stop passing by, have cost me some of the roughness that I really used to like about me.

And the work on the hole that forced my injury was way more satisfying than an equal time spent here fiddling with documents, sliding a mouse around and generally doing things that make me even weaker.

I need a vacation that includes some hard labor. I've heard fishing on the Outer Banks is a real back breaker. Going to have to get down there and check it out.

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