Steve worked almost nonstop on the yard for weeks. I would hobble down to see him, out of breath by the time I got there. His shirt would be dark with sweat and he would not stop, not even for a drink of water. He said he’d drink water later, when he was done with this or that big section. Lifting the shovel and sinking it into the dirt even once is difficult. I bought him that shovel, I brought it home in my car and had trouble carrying its weight into the garage. His physical strength seems to me to be mythical, like some god or at least some otherwordly animal like a bison.
I love this photograph of him, surrounded by his dirt, taking a rare break. Something about the perspective. The shovel looks bigger than he does and the wheelbarrow looks smaller. I love the sea of brown — his boots and gloves brown, too — then the clear blue of his shirt. That shovel makes me tired now just looking at it.