In the backyard there are two trees that have grown together at the base. This has formed a hole where rainwater collects. Even though it’s not a stump I wonder if this is the kind of “spunk-water”* Mark Twain wrote about in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
You got to go all by yourself, to the middle of the woods, where you know there’s a spunk-water stump, and just as it’s midnight you back up against the stump and jam your hand in and say:
‘Barley-corn, barley-corn, injun-meal shorts, Spunk-water, spunk-water, swaller these warts,’
and then walk away quick, eleven steps, with your eyes shut, and then turn around three times and walk home without speaking to anybody. Because if you speak the charm’s busted.”
Here’s a picture of the hole.
I think it’s haunted because I can’t keep it filled. Even though it’s small there’s almost always just enough water for a small colony of mosquito larvae. I have a lot of reasons for wanting as few mosquitoes around as possible, the biggest one being their propensity for carrying heartworms.
So here I am filling the hole with dirt. Hey, nice gloves!
Here’s the hole filled with dirt.
Here’s the hole two days later.
It did rain during those two days, and I can believe that some of the dirt was flushed out by the rain. It didn’t rain that hard, but maybe it really doesn’t take much. Obviously I need something heavier: rocks.
So here’s a nice big rock I decided to put in the hole.
Now this is where it gets weird. Or annoying. Or, if you don’t trust me, hard to believe. Last summer I filled the hole with small rocks. A few days later they all disappeared and the hole was filled with water again. This is why I believe the hole is haunted. Now the big rock seems to be staying in place.
Perhaps there was some small animal–raccoons, possibly, or even squirrels–that used the hole for drinking and was able to move the small rocks, but is stymied by the big rock.
That’s a pretty complicated explanation. A simpler one, I think, is that the holey ghost knows its actions are being documented. And because it has a sense of humor it’s not going to do what I want. Last year I wanted the hole to stay filled, so it mysteriously emptied itself. This year I want it to mysteriously empty itself, so, of course…
*I look forward to the traffic that will inevitably result from searches for “spunk water” even though most of the searchers will be disappointed.