The Well – Deep into Earth & Wallet


July 2019. Urban dwellers don’t see the infrastructure that sustains their daily function. You turn on the faucet and water comes in. You flush the toilet and waste goes out. We gripe sometimes about our utility bills or condo fees, as if these conveniences should be a fee-free, God-given right. When you develop raw land into usable land, you become acutely aware of the cost – to the land and to your pocketbook – of these modern assumptions. As I watched–and heard–the creation of a well on Camp Many Moons, I was struck by the physicality of it. My feet felt the earth move as the air was forced (compressed) downward to create a deep hole in the earth. My ears felt battered by the Bang! Bang! Bang! of the casing hammer as it drove the pipe down. How deep? That’s always a question. You don’t know until you start digging…about 200 feet for this one, as it turns out. Our well sits about 75 feet from the waterfront, so it might seem odd to go so deep with the lake (bay) so near. But lakes are lined with silt and clay, and we don’t want those substances in our wells – or our drinking water. So, we bang on. Into a second and then a third day. This well is a stubborn one, as the hammer works through sandstone, then slate. We learn that we are on a bedrock fault line. This briefly sounds scary to me until I remember that fault lines of all sorts exist all over. How little we know about the earth under our feet! Or bother to learn.

I suddenly admire geologists. I suddenly admire Mother Earth too. How stoically she endures our interventions. I silently apologize for the violent disruption in this heretofore undisturbed location. I feel a bit silly for doing so, but it just comes. Disturbing the land is curiously disturbing to my psyche. Disturbing to my wallet too. 😉 When I consider a typical city water bill, it will take at least 10 years for this well to pay for itself. An investment in the future–but what future? I still haven’t decided whether to build a cabin. But running water will sure be nice! No regrets. Disturbances, yes. Regrets, no.

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