I move a lot of things one bit at a time. It’s a lesson I learned from the Allegheny Mound Ants that live around here. Their hills can be a 3′ tall cone of dirt they’ve excavated to create their labarynths (sp. Sorry.). over the period of a work day, it’s not uncommon to chip 5 tons of brush or load 8 tons of firewood. So….
. If ye have faith as a mustard seed, ye can move the mountains.
In this case, the mountain was an ABF van, loaded with Dianne’s belongings. She had uprooted herself from South Carolina to come here (ESR) to pursue study of the Spirit. She had been admitted to the school it is true. But she came here knowing little else about the place except that her Friends had told her this is the place to come to grow, to learn. She said she had spoken to some pastor friends, and they expressed doubt that there was a place, a seminary, where a person could come and study ways to deepen their relationship with the Eternal. The idea of a conversation with God not mediated by a clergyman was foreign to them. It has been a basic tenet of the Quaker faith.
I don’t know how many pieces there were, how many trips, her life in boxes, contained in that trailer. The front third of the 28’ trailer was packed to the ceiling, secured with a spider web of yellow rope and a wall of plywood held in place with two lock bars that pushed against the sides of the trailer. On Thursday when she arrived, three other friends, alerted by the announcement at common meal, had come to help unload. We unfolded the aluminum ramp that was in the trailer and at least gotten enough unloaded to provide Diane with a bed for the night. We looked like ants running a supply line to the nest: down the ramp. Along the side of the house. Up a dozen stairs to a landing. Turn left. Up six more steps. U-turn and angle through the kitchen door.
Friday, though, it was just Diane and me. Rough guess: maybe 2/3 of the freight was still in the trailer. She said that if it wasn’t all unloaded on Monday, there was a daily charge of $50 for it. She’s come here with little; $50 is a lot. The couch, desk, a couple of shelves, bulky heavy things, remained. It appeared that they might well require 2 people to handle them. Diane works but doesn’t have a lot of physical strength. We started. One or 2 boxes at a time. The heavy things I slid to the back of the trailer, then walked down the ramp. Standing on the ground, I’d lean them towards me and balance the thing- -couch, desk, whatever- -on my shoulder. Back along the side of the house. Up the steps. While I was still several steps from the top I’d place the front part of the whatever on the top landing, crawl out from under it, and flip it endways onto the deck. The desk was too heavy and awkward for this. My legs refused to lift both me and it, even a step at a time. It was wide, as desks are prone to be, and caught on the railing. I laid it down on the steps in front of me, wondering how to proceed. I flipped it up onto its end, gently let it down onto its back. I guess you could say I rolled a rectangular desk up a flight and a half of stairs. Sort of like a dung beetle rolling his treasure, his livelihood along in front of him. Way had opened. The heaviest thing was up in the apartment. The rest wasn’t necessarily easy. There were myriad additional trips, but the finish of the task grew steadily, visibly nearer. Diane said I was her Ram in the bush.