Bartleby the Boulder

An old joke:

The first time I stood on the edge of the meadow where I planned my garden, I tossed a rock as far as I could.

When I began to prepare the garden I was amazed at how quickly that little rock had sprouted, and how productive it had been!

I have been long-accustomed to the rock piles that accumulate as I open up new beds or planting areas. And I've developed a a familiar, even practiced approach to extricating the rocks and stones I encounter. My "new ground kit" includes two shovels (wide blade, and narrow, angled, and pointed trenching shovel), a mattock, a pick, a pry bar (that's only rarely been needed.

The kit and I have dealt with everything from run-of-the-mill(stone), palm-sized rocks, to grapefruit sized stones. Some offer more resistance than others, but few resist for long.

But we may have met our match.

And I don't even remember planting it.

And I don't even remember planting it.

When my shovel blade, about two inches into the ground,  first encountered what I have come to think of as "Bartleby the Boulder," I dropped into what I assumed would be my familiar pattern —

  • find the edges
  • find the depth
  • excavate until a bottom edge is located
  • pry out
  • add to pile

Still working on the first three, and am doubtful of the fourth, have abandoned the fifth. Bartleby will have higher purpose than just being part of a pile, or even a pile unto himself, once I remove him from his lodgings.

But I may leave him there, expose as much of him to the sun as possible, and work around him. My garden stone, Bartleby.

The more I think about it, the more I think that Bartleby stays in place. I have (next to) no doubt that I could move him. But, as his namesake said more than once, "I would prefer not to."