Home, Taos

Sweat Equity

I’ve written before about our road woes — snow then mud — and fixing them. Then the monsoon season came early this year to Taos and our neighborhood got a good shellacking by heavy rainfall. Most of the road held up fine except for a gouge, about a half-foot deep, where gravel got washed away.

I’ve avoided driving over that spot. So have my neighbors. I pledged to do something about fixing it before it got worse but kept putting it off.

Then, the other morning I saw Mary, my neighbor who lives across the arroyo, walking her dog as I headed to work. When I stopped to chat, I noticed she held three round stones. Mary told me she has been laying stone in the gouge each morning she walks Kona. How neighborly of her.

I told Mary I planned to do the same this weekend.

And so I did. Yesterday, I pushed my wheelbarrow, rake, and shovel along the road. I knew where there were good round stones from where Armando did work this winter. I also looked for piles of gravel and crushed stone Armando deposited along the road in his attempt to clear off the mud.

I started where Mary left off. I lay the stones, and then spread gravel and stone over them to make a smooth surface.

The sun was hot — I wore my straw hat and covered myself up — but the work wasn’t too hard. I chose stone and gravel in spots that had easy access and a little uphill from my work area so I would be pushing the loaded wheelbarrow downhill.

During the process nearly all the neighbors stopped by on the road to talk or give a wave.

I got 12 feet done Saturday. It was the worst part actually. I figure I have 24 more to go. I will head up later today to see how far I get.

I make my living using my mind and creativity. But I don’t mind doing physical work. It could be painting, building a garden, and any number of chores necessary when you own a home. I would rather do it than pay someone else. And that includes fixing a gouge in a dirt road.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: We went Saturday to the reception for Art de Descartes, in which artists use junk as material. Robert Nelson created the sculpture Weidelfish using 40-plus pieces of reclaimed wood plus plastic inside. This gives you an idea of the exhibit.