April 23, 2011 - 1:47pm -- swingbug

A sinkhole opened up in my neighborhoodthis week. No joke. Right across the street from the park. It started as a underground pipe with a crack in it. Water flows down-gradient, as my soil science professors in college were so fond of chanting. The groundwater found the pipe and the soil stuck with the water. Erosion through the layers and before you know it, there's a frog on the bump on the log in the middle of the sea.

Or a hole in the middle of the street anyway.

Last Saturday there were road cones buffering the hole by a few feet. By the start of the work week, they had closed off the street from side to side. Now they've got two whole blocks shut down.

The city's got it in hand - it's not like whole houses are dropping in or anything - but it's causing some traffic confusion. This sinkhole is in the middle of the most direct route to my house from just about anywhere, so I've had to reroute my transportive pathways.

Some pathways are easier to reroute than others. You would think after a week of going to and from the house, I would remember, that I would be on auto-correct by now. No, apparently not. I still flick on my blinker and try to drive my car into a gaping hole twice a day. Thank god for the flashing orange lights and road blocks, you know?

Maybe I could stand to install more of those in my life.

It seems like I frequently find myself stuck in a do loop without the benefit of an until statement. You notice this sort of thing more when you have a four-year old who questions your motives for every action and reaction. Often enough he spits out the "Why?" and then Shawn and I blink at each other. "That's a really good question."

Sinkholes do pop up unexpectedly from time to time. One can learn to patch them or work around them, but I find that I’ve fallen in two or three times in a row and banged my head on the bottom before I finally get around to figuring it out.

I’m going through that with an extra-curricular activity right now. One of those fall-back, make-everything-better sorts of things has gotten swallowed up into a pit but I keep walking into it anyway expecting solid ground beneath my feet before I blink around in the dark with recollection. “Oh yeah, this is work now. I remember.”

It happens.

Climbing out of the hole can make you stronger. And you can find some cool things on the back roads through suburbia looking for a new route out of the traffic mess. Nonetheless, the instinct is to turn left and follow the dashed lines right into the big gaping hole in the ground, over and over again.

In the end, I think occasional re-routes are good for us. Ironically enough, having the ground yoinked out from under your feet keeps you on your toes. And sometimes you can fill that hole in and make it road stronger for it too. There’s a team of city folks up the street working hard at it right now as I type, with shovels and backhoes and brains and braun.

That’s what it takes, I guess. Tools and thought, strength and hard work.

(and patience...)

And maybe a certain willingness to stop milling around on the edge amidst the road cones commenting on the size of the hole in the ground and to finally grab the shovel.