Free the Culvert

by Terry Plotkin

My friend enlisted my help to move 3 huge flat rocks that form a bridge over a culvert that was built 200 years ago by small New England farmers. The culvert has been dysfunctional for many years because it was filled with leaves and mud. The result is the old road, soon to be a cross country ski trail, has been washed out.  The movie below shows in 47 seconds how we moved the rocks so my friend could dig out the culvert, which he has since done, and then we moved the rocks back into place.

I asked him why he wanted to do such a laborious task, and if skiing that trail was that important to him. He said that skiing the trail was just the icing on the cake. The cake was just the pleasure in figuring out how to do it and manifesting his idea, while preserving that which had been built so many years ago.   In fact, this is the second culvert he had repaired, and the first one had no real reason at all to restore it. The doing was an end in itself.

We had a good time  over the hours it took repair the culvert, and the time passed quickly. There was a quiet and Zen like quality to doing this task deep in the woods without any power tools. I’ll appreciate that trail much more than normal when I ski over those rocks come winter.

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