rock in white. A pile of earth — topsoil, gravel, clay,npebbles — lay in the middle of the garden stubble.nErnesto wheeled the tools to the spot and considered thenjob. After a time he said, “I advise you, Alejandra Ruiz, toncover this stone and plant around it.”n”You don’t think you can get it out?”n”I can get it out,” he said. “But there will be a hole.”n”I can fill the hole.”n”Even so, planting around it would be easier. You’ll havento bring in new soil.”n”Nothing will grow over a stone,” Aleja Ruiz said.nErnesto looked at the sun which was edging up from thenmountains into the sky. He followed with his gaze a flock ofncrows flying from their roost, wherever it was, toward thendump at Chimayo. Then he measured Aleja Ruiz. “You’rena stubborn woman, Alejandra Ruiz.”n”No more stubborn than the crows which fly to thendump,” she said. “No more stubborn than the bear standingnon two legs on the mountain.”nErnesto tried the lever first. He brought a smooth,nmedium-sized stone from the river bank and set it at thenedge of the trench. Then he lodged the crowbar as far undernthe big stone as he could — there was no part that wasnexactly under, but he settled the bar into a cleft. Then heninched backward into a crouch and pushed the lever downnwith all his weight. He grunted and pried. The stone stayednwhere it was.nHe dug with the shovel. Sweat rose on his forehead,nsteamed into the cold air. He muttered. He swore. Henthudded the earth with the blade of the shovel, lifted thenheavy clay, showered the clods over the garden. When hengot out of the trench to try the lever again, Aleja Ruiznclimbed into the hole and went on digging. She lifted thenshovelfuls of earth more carefully. The work warmed her.nThe stone moved outward from the shovel.nErnesto pried with the crowbar. “Push from the side,” hensaid. “We’ll move it.”nShe put the shovel down and pushed. The stone did notnmove.n”If we can loosen it a little,” Ernesto said, “then we’llnhave it.”nThey worked another half hour until Ernesto said he hadnto go to Espafiola. “I have a business,” he said. “I can’tnspend my whole day over a stone in the ground.”n”Thank you for what you’ve done, Ernesto Saenz.”n”Don’t thank me,” he said. Ernesto wiped his foreheadnon his shirt-sleeve and spat on the ground. “I did nothing.”nLater that afternoon Aleja Ruiz stood in front of hernhouse making bread to take up to Ernesto Saenz andnMaria Yglesias to thank them for their efforts. She had siftednthe flour, mixed in cinnamon for the children, kneaded thendough on a smooth flat stone under the still-bare branches ofnthe apricot trees. She rolled the dough out, kneaded it againnthe way her mother had taught her. She made bread threentimes every week, had made thousands of loaves withoutnquestioning the task. She liked the smells and the differingnlights of the weathers and the seasons, especially thenafternoon light in spring and fall on the plateau and beyond,nwhere the shadows danced across the river gorge.nBut that afternoon she took no pleasure in the sunlight ornin the sweet warm breeze which slid down the arroyo intonher yard. The making of bread was a chore and a sorrow.nThe shadows did not dance. All she could think of was thenstone in her garden.nShe had just set the loaves in a wedge of shade by thenhouse to let them rise when she heard a motor churning thenair, a motor not of a car which she would have recognized.nThis motor came too slowly around the barren hill beyondnErnesto Saenz’s shed. With her hand she shaded her eyesnfrom the sunglare. A tractor sputtered into view and camendown the dirt land toward the shed. Aleja recognized thendriver as Raul Gadin, who was called El Pavo because withnsuch a long neck he looked like a turkey.nThe taut chain dug into the earth.nRaul Gadin backed up, put the tractorninto gear again, and tried to jerknthe stone loose. The tractor surgednin the air; the stone didn’t move.nRaul stopped at the shed, and Ernesto came out. Thenmotor of the tractor softened. For a few minutes Raul andnErnesto spoke, and Ernesto pointed toward Aleja’s house.nThen Ernesto climbed up onto the fender of the tractor andnthe two men started down the hill toward where Aleja wasnwatching.nRaul Gadin was a tall wiry man, and he squinted all thentime. He had a cherry orchard on the outskirts of Chimayo,nand before the cherries came in, he hired himself out to cutnalfalfa on the irrigated fields of the valley. He did other oddnjobs, too, like cutting firewood or pulling stumps or, innwinter, plowing driveways for the Anglos or rescuing carsnfrom ditches. He made excuses before he started anything,nbut wherever there was a job for a tractor, the man to callnwas El Pavo.nRaul Gadin stopped the tractor at the edge of Aleja’snyard. “He’s doing this for nothing,” Ernesto Saenz said. “Infixed his irrigation pump at the orchard, and Pavo owes me anfavor.”n”But why are you using the favor for me?” Aleja asked.n”Nothing is done yet,” Ernesto said. “Do you want anride?”nHe helped Aleja up onto the fender, and Raul Gadin putnthe tractor into gear and drove down to the garden.nEl Pavo stood near the stone and surveyed the terrain fornthe best position for the tractor. He squinted as if he werenthinking very hard. “The problem is leverage,” he said.n”With a stump I could put the chain around and pullnstraight, but with this stone. . . . You see how it is.” Hensquinted again. “Or with a car there’s a bumper to attachnto.”nThe trench Ernesto and Aleja had dug was three feetndeep and, from one side to the other, perhaps six feet across.nThe stone was dome-shaped, rough, pocked with dirt andngravel.n”It can’t be that difficult,” Ernesto said.nnnNOVEMBER 1991/17n