When we had a shallow trench running 12 feet or so from the house, and the pipe was showing no signs of spouting, I started to lose interest. It was seven at night in the New England winter, and that means it was just about pitch black. Jungleboy was in full effect, donning a white miner's helmet with mounted headlamp and arm-length rubber cleaning gloves. I'd given up trying to help dig the trench an hour ago, and was now making myself useful by propping Jungleboy up on my shoulders and aiming his head wherever Dave was gesturing wildly. Every four minutes or so Dave would stop, and curse the fact that his beloved Bobcat was not currently parked at the house. "I could have this whole bitch mulchy if I had the Bobcat here," he'd say, thrusting his dirty chin at the entire backyard as I tried unsuccessfully to cover Jungleboy's ears.
Six months back, when Dave had purchased the Bobcat, his first Heavy Duty Man Tool, he did what anyone does when they finally get the thing they've wanted all their life (but at the moment have no use for): he hauled it on a trailer to my house, destroyed the first granite wall he could find, which happened to protect the backyard from the street, and then moved a huge pile of dirt into the middle of the wide open expanse behind my house. Though that six foot high mound of dirt was initially part of some sort of master landscaping plan, it was only a matter of months before it had a wig of weeds and turtle eggs. Since it was an awkwardly shaped thing to begin with and keeping the huge lawn clipped regularly was already a battle, mowing it was out of the question. Months later, looking at the outline of the mound in the moonlight, with it's own elevated ecosystem, I wondered if Dave saw it as the same thing I did: as a testament to the will of a man with big dreams, big tools, and very little time.