The Existential Lumpy Doolittle
Deep in the gob piles, on the edge of, what was said to be, the bottomless Blue Hole, in a small and timeless cabin, lived Lumpy Doolittle.
Prolog: The Gobs
Now, the gob piles (The Gobs, for short) was an alien looking landscape, the product of a combination of eras, separated by an uncountable number of days, passed. Layered within the sandstones of the Carboniferous Era, settled millions upon millions of centuries earlier, were the coal beds, desired by the oncoming Age of Industry. Joining these two periods of time, hundreds of feet of just plain, dirt.
With an urgency, unsurpassed, man set about freeing this black and filthy substance in answering the ever-dawning calls to advance, upgrade, and improve. Mountainous amounts of earth, called spoil, were ripped from its place by humongous, steam-powered shovels and piled off to the side in getting at this commodity, provided, free of charge, for those who labored to reach it… For those who reached it first, that is. Acknowledging the ever-present certainty of thermodynamic decline, addressing the human condition is a never-ending task.
The steam - a product, itself, of burning coal, itself, shoveled into fires stoked by man. Even the biggest of wheels go round.
After retrieving this substance, that so many lives were centered on, little effort was made at putting everything back like it was the eon, after eon, after eons, before the times of men, with their giant machines, arrived. Maybe, there wasn’t enough time or money for this, at first. Or, maybe, nobody cared as much as they should have. Not freezing to death or starving, both good points, was a little better than, not, having to look upon the scarred face of the planet’s surface, somewhere out in the backwoods, and time, of course, was of the essence.
But with time, comes wisdom and healing. These would join forces in the future and a new necessity would replace and repair the damage brought by necessities of old. The name of this?
The steep hills that defined the gob piles, would, in the future, be returned to their hollows and releveled, preventing the further “development” of any new Gobs, for tomorrow. Gobs of this hollowed ground were left standing, in this particular instance, piled high, right next to where it laid, for almost, forever. The Gob Piles became a thing, slipping through a crack, in its own, little nick of time.
With time, the Earth and Mother Nature reclaimed the barren, moon-like Gobs. Tall sycamore trees popped up along with their hickory, maple, and oaken brethren. Taking their place beneath them, thick brush grew, from which dangled berries, black, blue, and boysen… Beneath them grew grass and from under that, morel mushrooms climbed their way to the surface following an unseen path left, perhaps, by the coal veins that preceded them. The Gobs, once ugly and dead, were, again, fully alive and of their own accord.
But that wasn’t the only change which eased in place behind the handiwork of man.
The Bottomless Blue Hole
Said to be bottomless, but most certainly beautiful, the Blue Hole is one of many deep fingers of water that reach out across the Gobs. Between these, from the other direction, fingers of land, long, steep ridges, stretch out to meet and separate them. Hill and hollow, alike, the result of a single mining technique. These, once, were strip pits, cut into the Earth, in a hodgepodge manner. Unschooled miners plied the surface, hereabouts, felling the trees to scrape way the soils they rooted in. This, in order to uncover the rich veins of coal lying beneath and chasing after them whichever way they happened to lead. This process was called strip mining and while maybe, not considered one, it also proved to be a process of learning.
One of many that eventually transform into what’s called, man’s potential.
The Blue Hole, made blue by reflection of the sky, and excessively so, through minerals, freed from their rocky prison. These, through natural, chemical processing, leaching into the water that settled into the places once held by coal. A gorgeous blue, although unintended, and one almost painful to look at. The big shovels and men who once worked these pits were replaced with the big bass and bluegill who now work these depths, with children, now playing on its surface. Without the gob piles, there would be no Blue Hole. Without the Blue Hole... there would be no Gobs.
To be continued ...