Thursday, November 02, 2006

'Digging' our world and what is around us

(Click on image for larger version)

Bellezza has mentioned the Grand Canyon in a couple of recent posts on her blog. I was there with my family a bit over a year ago, as part of an extended trip through the American Southwest, and I checked out some of the photographs I had taken to jog my memory of the visit. One of my favourite photos is shown above.

The wonders of nature amaze me. There is a lot to be amazed by, at the Grand Canyon. Like every other visitor to the site, I was awed by the rugged splendour and the incredible scale of the canyon.

Sometimes, we travel thousands of miles to see some notable place or attraction somewhere else, but neglect to explore our own backyards. There is often a lot to see and explore wherever we might happen to live. Sometimes, we aren't even really aware of what surrounds us, until we research local attractions so we can entertain visitors from elsewhere.

Occasionally, there are things of interest right in our own, literal, back yard. When I was about seventeen years old, living in St. Catharines, Ontario, my mother called me outside one summer day and showed me an inverted flower pot that she had found buried in the back yard. I can't remember why she had been digging in that area of the yard, but the pot caught her interest. It was perfectly placed, upside down, and it appeared to her to have been put there as a marker of some sort. She asked me if I would be interested in continuing to dig, to see if something might be buried further down.

I had nothing better to do, so I took on the challenge. I started digging. My mother watched. About eight inches down, immediately under the first flower pot, was another, also inverted. I dug further and another pot appeared. Then another and another. Soon, I had dug so deep that I had to widen the hole so I could stand in it, to keep on digging. The pile of dirt beside the hole grew larger and larger. I had dug down about six feet or more when my father arrived. He didn't share the sense of curiosity and adventure my mother and I had, and told me to fill in the hole. I argued that there might be something really interesting further down, when the inverted pots would eventually come to an end. He countered that whoever had 'planted' the pots had likely simply planned to make fools of someone someday, and my mother and I were behaving accordingly. We were on a fool's errand.

I filled in the hole. I was disappointed. I would have preferred to keep digging. To this day, I wonder what might have been at the bottom of the stack of inverted flower pots. It might indeed have been someone's idea of a joke. But, so what? Judging by the age and condition of the pots, I suspected that the perpetrator would have been long dead by then, and in no position to laugh at me in person. Maybe, he or she would have a chuckle from beyond the grave somewhere. Hmmm. . . I just realized that this might have been a good Halloween post. Instead, it will have to serve as a 'there ain't nothin' wrong with doing something silly' post.

What I took away from that day and that experience was that sometimes it doesn't hurt to do something out of pure curiosity, just to see what will happen. What might have been at the bottom of the inverted pots? Perhaps a dead cat. Perhaps nothing. Maybe a time capsule of some kind, you know like a glass jar or tin filled with newspaper clippings, and other things of historical interest. Maybe some old coins. Who knows?

I will never know what I might have discovered. I am still digging though, at least in a figurative sense. I am still curious to see what is around the corner, what is going to happen tomorrow and, should I ever encounter an inverted stack of flower pots again, what will lie buried below.

I guess I am just a big kid at heart. Thank goodness for that!


  1. Where'd you live? I want to go dig up those pots! Great story, and thanks for the reminder that you don't always have to leave to find something worth finding.

  2. That was a great story!!

    I can't believe you were made to fill it in!!

    You should go back and ask the people who live there now if they dug up a stack of inverted pots.

    And, why not give someone a well deserved laugh, anyway; someone put in the time to bury them, they had to dig just as far.

    I wonder what there was. I wonder if the size of pots diminshed or if there was skeletal remains or some ashes or a story or a letter or a pile of dried flowers from a love gone wrong, a diary, perhaps it was homage to a crazy old cat woman with a penchant for irises whose eccentric coffee shop talk was based on the belief that the world was a turtle on a turtle on a turtle and when she died, the son, put her ashes in a planter, on a planter, on a planter.

    This could have led anywhere.

    Maybe there was a key!

    Maybe a treasure?

    But, the best thing to come out of it, regardless, was the story.


  3. This is one of my favorite posts I've ever read of yours. I was fascinated in the story of the pot digging, and now I,too, wonder what was at the we'll never know! It seems like a great beginning for a sci-fi story.

    The picture you posted at the top is infinitely more interesting than the thousands of Grand Canyon pictures one normally views. I like how you "framed" it between the trees.

    A quick connection: when I was little, one of the neighborhood boys told me a leprechaun buried some treasure under a tree in an old woman's yard. Boy, she was about as happy as your dad when she found me digging up her yard.

    Finally, curiosity is a wonderful thing. I have to admit I don't have an excess myself, being a person who likes to be safe, but I do admire others who explore. Dig around. Find new things.

  4. I rarely get to St. Catharines any more. I used to drive by the old family home there and wonder who is living in it now.

    I just uncovered a rather freaky co-incidence. The house we lived in weas at the corner of Lowell Avenue and Thomas Street. I was going to ask if anyone got the significance of those names and to make sure that my own feeble memory contained the correct facts, I googled 'Lowell Thomas.' I read there that as well as being a well-known American writer and braodcaster, which is about what I remembered about him, he was also a member of the 'Explorer's Club.' Fascinating, in the context of the explorative digging in my parents' yard. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this:

    "Since 1980, the Explorers Club, which Thomas was a member of, annually presents the Lowell Thomas award to "honor men and women who have distinguished themselves in the field of exploration". The awards are presented at a yearly dinner to a select group of people having made particular contributions in the specific area chosen to be that year's focus. Past awardees include Edmund Hillary, Isaac Asimov, David Doubilet, Mary Cleave, Buzz Aldrin and Bertrand Piccard."

    I am in no way equating digging up flower pots with climbing Mount Everest, this just strikes me as one of those funny little co-incidences we encouter so often in life.

  5. An interesting story becomes even better...I wouldn't have thought of that connection, but it's lucky you did.

  6. Yeah, my money's on PRANK...Exactly what I think of Oak Island too.
    Can you imagine digging that hole a hundred feet down and having it fill up with water?