When the autumn leaves had all fallen, I began leafing through old photos.
And…here’s a random closeup.
Not a thing of beauty, but just kinda interesting. Can you guess what it is?
(I show the answer in just a minute.)
This fall, turning over a garden bed (but not a new leaf), this odd stratified object was unearthed. It looked pretty ancient, but isn’t – based on a couple minutes of research on the manufacturer’s stamp, it was made sometime after 1929. Because it’s stainless steel, I think these veins and patterns are some sort of mineral deposits on the surface, rather than corrosion, but basically just thought it looked kinda interesting. Some sort of tiny electro-chemical mystery, transpiring down there in the dark substratum beneath the innocent-looking cabbages.
Here’s some other archaeological treasures from the garden:
An old medicine bottom, fragments of china, stoneware, and glass. I think the metal ornament isn’t a toy, but a kind of hood ornament – we’ve never had a snowmobile, but one of our neighbors enjoys fixing up vintage Ski-Doos, and sometimes rides around the neighborhood, so that probably explains that.
Here’s another picture of the strata:
Yes, an old spoon. Who would dare say, we don’t have an exciting time of it in my hometown.
When I was a kid, I was excited to dig up a couple of horseshoes. Although it was sad to think of some horse years ago, limping around, or left jacked up on blocks by shoe thieves.
But the artifacts turned out to be stragglers from the lawn game, not actually from shoeless horses. (Un-shod horses? De-shodded? Slipshod? Shoe-eschewing?)
Yes, people still play horseshoes in my town, and the previous residents of our house had installed lighted, sand-filled pits in the backyard. I did wonder, since they had this opportunity to practice whenever they wanted, why I found the horseshoes buried in a flower bed twenty feet away. Excess enthusiasm, I guess, or evidence of some long-forgotten domestic tiff? And I also wondered, if a pit is filled up with sand or sawdust, is it still a pit? You have time to contemplate such deep thoughts, while you’re throwing pieces of metal at a stick.
There have been people living in this house for 150 years or so, all of them pretty steadily dropping things in the yard. My dad’s thing is coffee cups, left half-full in odd places – behind some tomato cages, in the crook of a tree, under the pole beans – we usually harvest them all during the fall cleanup, but probably a few have ended up sinking beneath the sod. Kind of a mug’s game, and some future generation will find all these ceremonial chalices, and be wondering, who exactly was this nameless World’s Best Dad.
An old lady used to live across the street. Mrs. Z told me her uncle and aunt lived in our house, in the ’20’s, when there was still a barn, chicken coop, and grape arbor – all of those long-vanished – and that explains the rusty plowshare, bits of chain, etc. I sometimes dig up.
So – getting close to New Year’s – – out with the old, and in with the new.
But instead of throwing this stuff in the trash, I’m going to (if the ground isn’t frozen too hard!) find a spot at the base of a maple tree, and bury these fragments of history, for some kid to find in the future.
I’ll throw something into the treasure trove, too.
Trying to decide between a fork, a subway token, or a Jabba the Hutt figurine.
Heck, all of the above, I’ll just dig a bigger hole.