Sunday, January 31, 2010
Once it hit a balmy twenty degrees, with no wind, we got out of the house and explored the back yard a while. Jesse fired up my metal detector and did some.. detecting. The ground is frozen hard enough to deter heavy weapons, but she did get an idea what areas are worth investigating once the soil thaws. This house has been standing since the 1700's, so anything goes. I think it's fascinating, and I look forward to a little shovel time come Spring.
Me... I explored the bamboo stand on the other side of the back yard fence, and down the hill along a deer trail. It took only moments to run right up on the Pequea creek. The living rock of the hillside seems to flow into the water in some spots, and heavy erosion on the curves speaks of high water when it rains heavily. Along the creek, myriad game trails, and one I am sure formed as trout fisherman have traced the flow over generations.
Across the creek, a park I only just learned of despite living in the area for many years. It appears to be a powerline cut that's been widened over time and grassed in. There are walking paths through the natural area, and a lonely picnic shelter in the distance. It looks to be lightly used, even if in a beautiful place.
Walking the creek, I found a gully... a wash... that's been used as dumping area since long before my birth. Looking at the debris, some stratified into the banks, I had the thought: At what point does trash become artifact, and an old family dump become an archeological site? As I type this, there is a bottle on the table next to me. It's one stray I picked up from the ground, just laying there as if waiting. It has a number formed into it's base, and a quick search found a 1950 patent with a diagram of exactly what stands before me. 60 years ago, give or take, someone bought some notion that came in this bottle, and having used it up discarded the container with the other unwanted trash. It's a funny looking little bottle by today's standards, but perhaps two generations ago it was stylish.
What stands out to me is this: A bottle from 1950 lays on the ground to be picked up, but I can see more glassware sticking out from the side of the wash... and it has three feet of soil above it. How long has it been there? What will I find when I begin digging around in this dump? Already, I see a car bumper from the sixties, an adding machine from the forties, and tires that last saw the road when my father was young.
Along the creek there's a clearing, grassy and shaded. It's on our side, just down the hill from the house. It looks exactly the right place to build a fire from wood collected on the banks, and to recline with a cold beer in an old chair as the moon rises. With a fishing pole.... maybe even a baited line too.... a magical evening could be passed there. Gathered around a fire, speaking in low voices.... as the ghosts gather out of history around us. Tradition heavily weighting the fires flames as cool beer flows and bonds are forged.
Yes.... I am going to enjoy living here.