Sunday, January 8, 2012


By Julie Rahm

It is the “dead of winter” in Pamlico County. The fish have left the creeks to winter in warmer waters. In their absence, the authorities issue dredging permits. Dredges fascinate me. These floating machines pump millions of gallons of spoil from our creeks, rivers and inlets. The dredges that work the inlets are massive. They have huge spinning augers that grind the bottom. The auger is moved back and forth across the bottom until the prescribed depth is obtained. Located directly behind the auger is the pump inlet that sucks in the lose bottom. The dredge then pumps this spoil to a nearby spoil site. These multi-chambered spoil sites are carefully engineered to capture the muck and let the clean water drain back into creek, river or inlet. I have witnessed some very nasty water get pumped into a spoil site and run tap water clean back into the creek! The dredges that work these creeks and marinas are not the huge monsters that roam the inlets. They are smaller versions. But, they still perform some remarkable feats. Spoil can get pumped over a mile to its final resting place. Some dredges look like floating junk yards while others shine like a new car. Dredgers charge for the number of cubic yards they remove. All well-managed marinas have dredging funds in order to maintain their depths. Dredging must be anticipated because it is super expensive.

Interestingly, I have friends who participate in a different form of dredging business. These friends continually dredge up the past. They dredge up their own past to the detriment of others. And, they dredge up the past of others in an attempt to gain a better position in their relationships. Most often, people’s pasts should lie on the bottom. There is very little to be gained by dredging up the dirt. Rarely are relationships made better by reliving the past. The relationship I have with my husband, John will not be improved by rehashing his relationship with his first wife. And, vice versa, I’m sure John doesn’t want to hear the sordid details about my first marriage. We should learn from our previous experiences and even share the lessons learned. Incidentally, that’s what I’m doing here! But, the hurtful details should be kept firmly on the bottom. Don’t be a dredger.

Those who persist in dredging through their relationships don’t realize they are burying their relationship in the dirt they are pumping. Once the relationship spoil site is full, the relationship will end. Dredging channels is expensive. Likewise, the injury caused by dredging up the past can also be expensive. Damaged relationships are expensive and difficult to repair. And, relationships can be even more expensive, both financially and personally, if they end.

So, the past is gone. Commit to the moment and look to the future. Don’t dredge harmful channels through relationships. Relationships are difficult enough without introducing a hurtful past.

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