Monday, January 5, 2009

A Matched Set

I am an explorer.

For as long as I can remember, I have spent vacations, weekends, an hour here and there all in the pursuit of "treasure." Not gold or truffles or the perfect pair of designer jeans, but bits and bobs of junk that most people would simply pass over.

Ghost towns. Mill sites. Mining sites. Old dump piles. Beach trash. Books. Hardware. Pottery shards. Square nails. Tin cans. Rusted machinery.

For years I also did this exploring either with a very patient dad, very inpatient boyfriends, or alone. No one seemed to understand that lying on your belly at an old beach dump looking for minuscule shards of red glass is exciting. That climbing for three hours to stare at an abandoned steam donkey or other such boiler apparatus for mining is thrilling. Or that finding an old pressed-tin button under the fallen-in ruins of a cabin is unbelievable!

For the longest time I thought that there was something really, really wrong with me - perhaps I was sinking too far into my introversion. I was too independent and crazy and there was no single person out there who would ever understand this need to poke around ruins and spend hours on beaches in search of the perfect sea glass.

Enter Matt.

He's about as crazy as I am. Our idea of the perfect day out includes delicious coffee (normal), a long hike with lunch in a backpack and a camera in hand (pretty darn normal), several hours poking around abandoned piles of milled lumber and rusted out machinery parts (wait, WHAT?), and upon return home a nice long hot shower and good book time (wow, you two are like an old married couple...)
Yes, Matt loves to explore as much as I do. Whereas I used to test my luck with friends while slowly combing over entire beaches, Matt is now right beside me or even bounding ahead like a puppy to look at rather large pieces of driftwood. (Which he is starting to bring home with more frequency... We will soon have a burl garden beside our vegetable garden... Fantastic!) We spent an hour on our last hike on our knees around natural springs, trash piles and fallen-in cabins, just looking for what might be hidden under the years of redwood mulch. We found antique glass and pottery shards and nails (age guessed by bubbles and coloring in the glass and shape of the nails) and a portion of an old brick with a "P" pressed into it. Our treasures. And in the middle of the excitement, combing over the creek to see what might have washed down from the mill site, I looked over at Matt and realized (again) what a matched set we are.

Best friends. Married. Explorers. Two of us.

Go ahead, Mom. You can say "I told you so" again. ;o)


Michelle said...

I love it! Honestly, that stuff is cool to me, too. (Bubbled glass! Old Pottery! LOVE LOVE IT!) Our Dad has always been the exact same way, so it doesn't sound strange to me. I am so glad that you have each other to explore with!! AND that you both LOVE it!

rosa said...

Do you know about the glass that ends up in the creek above Davenport Beach? It comes from the art glass place upstream. When it was a little more cleared out we used to creekwalk in it and pull out piles of groovy glass....what's a steam donkey?

smalls said...

Which creek? We found a few really fun pieces on that beach, but have not been up the creek!!! Do tell - perhaps a daytrip with Miss G leading the way is in the cards!

A steam donkey is a steam-powered winch used in past mining or logging enterprises. Their boiler tanks are bulky and heavy and, thus, were often left behind when a mine was abandoned. Groovy (if dirty) equipment...

rosa said...

It's the one that has it's terminus in the beach-you can climb in from the beach, and go up under Hwy 1, or can climb in on the other side (harder and thornier). We climbed in from the beach last time, and climbed out upstream near the lumber yards. The lumber guy looked at our glass haul and said, "hey, d'ya know you can buy that by the bucket load?"
NO sense of adventure.

rosa said...

oh, and I linked to you in my last post!

smalls said...

I saw! Thanks for the sweet thoughts! (And thanks for turning me on to The Garden Rant... awesome!)