Another Man’s Treasure

A hillside populated with the discards of another era.

I’ve tried to imagine what those who went before us here were like. They lived on this very spot we now occupy. They did dishes, cooked, cleaned, fixed things, plowed, took care of their animals, cried, laughed, made love, ate, drank, read……all of the things we do today.

The only clue I have in answer to these questions is what they left behind, on a hillside just 30 feet from where I’m typing.

Before me and my family came, they left this place. Nearly 70 years ago. Why did they leave I wonder.? No one else came after them until now. The land passed through a succession of owners but no one saw fit to stay here. To care about the place. It sat quietly waiting with only the deer, the ants, the trees, rocks, and soil to occupy it’s time.

But the hillside held their secrets. Mundane, every day items such as an egg beater that succumbed to the slow embrace of the tree under which it sat. The tree hugging it more and more tightly year after year, as if afraid of losing it’s last connection to those who planted it.

Tin cans degenerated with each passing season; snow, rain, heat, wind, snow, rain, heat, wind until they began to lose their identities; their memories of what they were and why.

Parts of machinery held up better to the gentle onslaught of time, quietly proclaiming their usefulness only to become silent themselves with the passing years.

Salad forks, spoons, lamp bases, marbles, can openers, old TV dinner packages. Bottles; lots of them. Most broken, some intact, unbelievably, encased in the dirt just inches below the soil. Protected from the elements. Souvenirs from Japan, a hand poured heart made of lead from a mold, condiment jars and every other kind of product a family would use in the 50’s, 40’s and back.

A bracelet bearing the name Best, tossed down the hillside with the rest of the trash. Why, I wonder?

best bracelet
You can barely make out the name “Best” on this bracelet. I tried to find her successors to give this too but didn’t have any luck.

Did they get into arguments? Did they go to church on Sundays? They certainly had young children as evidenced by the small shoe soles and toy wagons left behind.

There are areas where bulldozers were most likely used to scrape together what was left of their existence, entombing it in neat piles. Sacred memories shoved together along with pipes, fencing, machine parts, barrels. Why did they leave and why bury everything?

I found this hillside and it’s occupants the first day we arrived on our property. I was fascinated and asked myself all of these questions. I wondered if our arrival had excited energies that had been dormant all of that time.

What did they think of us? Did they approve? Did she mind me polishing up her can opener and using it again for the first time in 70 years? I bet she didn’t.

wouldn’t mind if I was a ghost.

PS As I was finishing the editing on this post, a cupboard door in my kitchen quietly opened by itself. I really wonder if they’re watching now. 

Author: ldinlove

I am a 55 year old woman with one husband and one child living on raw land we bought in eastern Washington state. I am not normal. I am eccentric. Our whole family is, for that matter.

2 thoughts on “Another Man’s Treasure”

  1. I can relate. I “discovered” many of the same types of treasures when I cleaned up a section of overgrown property of my mom’s – some years ago. I found the remnants of wire fencing through the woods that was so over grown, it was a verifiable jungle in places. And I too found piles of farm machinery and bottle/can items semi buried by nature.
    Many a story can be told by what people leave behind.

    1. We counted over 250 bottles intact, alone. I think the photos are on my other computer. We sold a few to the antique shops in the area along with items made of iron (an old meat grinder and sad iron). The objects really DO tell a story. I just can’t help wonder if you are really stirring up dormant energies and gaining the attention of their old owners when you unearth them. The cupboard opening was really freaky.

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