My exploring life. Up close.

I’m a bit of a detailed person… but chaotically so, as a coworker recently affectionately remarked. (My process is “chaotic” but “hey, it works, it works!” and I suppose she must be right… I just don’t know any other way and have spent my life trying mightily to pretend I am authentically organized… but people who see how I work regularly know the truth. Andrew especially.)

Some of my earliest memories are of exploration. When I, the eldest child, would be loosed in the yard. I remember putting my face into a snowbank, opening my eyes, and blinking in wonder at the beauty right in front of my eyeballs. I stared and stared. The blue was so, so blue. The shapes and designs and patterns were magnificent. And the tiny ice crystals were so, so cold. This was, I think, an exploration.

I also loved examining the gravel on the road in front of our house. I was especially fascinated by the edges, where larger stones would roll closer to the tall grass of the ditch. I had once heard of someone discovering a diamond in this manner, and I figured that was a pretty good plan for income: just discover a diamond on the gravel road. I never did discover a diamond… but I did find an awful lot of quartz.

For years, I carefully saved my findings in a pale green Styrofoam egg carton… until one day, in an effort to demonstrate that I was now truly a grownup, I marched to the end of the driveway and unceremoniously dumped its contents into a puddle.

My grandparents lived on the same farmyard, and during the summer my cousin would stay with them on the farm. One time we were marching through the pasture at the back of the property, and stumbled across a large glittering half-buried boulder. Diamonds? We hurried to grandpa’s workshop and procured several hammers and chisels. Back at the rock, we worked and worked like it was our job now. What was it? So shiny and sheer, tiny pages of sparkle, all stacked together like a miniscule prehistoric phonebook. Upon showing the adults what we had found, they told us it was zinc, and it would not make us rich. Thus my career as a miner ended as abruptly as it had begun.

(Feature photo: me as a tot. For some reason I get a real kick out of this picture.)