In January, 2011, I bought a used Tesoro Cibola metal detector off Craigslist and ever since, have been obsessed with this new hobby, really my first hobby ever. Herein, I will describe my hunts, my finds, the metal detecting culture and try and figure out why this is so weirdly fun and addictive. Other possible topics: my new book (Not About Madonna: My Little Pre-Icon Roommate and Other Memoirs), writing songs in Nashville, the music biz, dogs...
Monday, January 16, 2012
My Arms Hurt
My arms hurt.
They do. In places that have never hurt before.
It was a good weekend. Saturday morning, bright and early, Cheryl was in my driveway and for once I didn't make her wait. We drove over to Doug's and he and the Lovely Brenda drove us all around the strip mall blightiness that is now suburban Nashville, pointing out where the farms and mansions and plantations used to stand until someone decided it would be better for them not to exist. Most are now paved over by Kmart parking lots and the like, but every now and then you get a glimpse of what used to be: a few feet of an old stone wall in between two office parks. A single ancient, towering tree and a crumbling chimney in a vacant lot filled with trash and abandoned shopping carts.
D and B had things to do so Cheryl and I got back in the car and stared at each other. Now what? Soon, we were trudging through the thick mud of a construction site (wide open) and into some deep woods. Our destination: the remains of a 1700s-era inn. At first, we weren't sure we were in the right place. It looked more like a dump. Actually, it was a dump. People seem to have been trashing this spot for 100 years or more. Rusty washtubs, pipe, construction materials, hundreds of bottles and cans, many of them really old, and of course, plenty of TUPoM (twisted, unidentifiable pieces of metal).
And yet, it was beautiful. Tall trees, blocking out the bleak, weak winter sky. On the ground, interspersed with the garbage, were the green stalks of daffodils, fooled by this warm January. I wondered who planted them.
We found the ruins, or some of them anyway: a huge stone threshold, the remains of some walls.
I spent the first ten minutes or so feeling jumpy and nervous. I'd forgotten my headphones and every beep from my Tesoro Cibola seemed loud enough to wake the ghosts of long-ago innkeepers who might smite me with their phantom fireplace pokers. I just couldn't relax. Cheryl got down to business and immediately bagged the day's first find: a sterling silver belt-buckle engraved with the letters “CBN” only in a much better font. See the picture?
WHO is C.B.N.? Any ideas?
Isn't that pretty? I got to work.
An hour later, all I had for my trouble was an ugly, flat, corroded button and an old bottle that was small enough to fit into my pocket. There was just too much trash to accomplish anything. Cheryl, of course, found a very cool brass (?) medal-looking thing from the Willimantic Cotton Company. I almost drooled. We left. The only hope for good hunting at that site is a full-on clean up.
The next day I rode with Doug and Arthur to a Place in Tennessee (vague enough for you?) and met Cheryl there. We honked the horn as we passed the house of the nice people who'd given us permission to hunt their property, then parked and started walking up a steep path to the top of a ridge.
Certain details have been changed. Like the fact that there was a zebra farm nearby. And a monastery. That should throw all you site stalkers off. (No really. I did change some details. Or did I?)
After quite a lot of trudging, we reached our destination: a lovely grove of trees. This was officially Cheryl and Doug's site and they'd done a good job “preparing” it (i.e. removing as much fun stuff as they could) before inviting us in. This is the way it's done, and it's totally ok and understandable. I was just grateful for a chance to hunt this nice hill.
Within my first three minutes: a 58 and my very first uniform button! Also dug a gorgeous iron head of a sledgehammer and set it beside a noteworthy tree to retrieve later. What a doorstop it will make!
From there, the pace slowed somewhat. The four of us spread way out. After three hours of straight detector-swinging in fairly thick underbrush, I was dehydrated, hungry, in severe arm-pain, and starting to lose any edge I had. A couple of times, I got totally hung up in brambles and cut my legs trying to get loose. At one point I got up from digging a bullet and looked down to realize I'd lost my jacket – which included my phone. After much moaning and under-the-breath cussing and thrashing about, I found it. I also kept getting lost, for as the planet turned and the sunlight changed, the woods seemed to look different. At one point, I heard a lot of gunshots and retreated rapidly, heart pounding. For the record, folks, deer season is OVER.
But still, it was funner than fun. CRAZY fun. Don't know why. Don't care. Here's a pic of me and Cheryl having fun in the woods.
Lady Diggers Whit and Cheryl
Isn't Cheryl adorable??? I'm so glad to have an awesome digging buddy who totally understands.
The day's take:
1 really nice BUTTON!
1 William's cleaner bullet
1 fired (smashed) bullet
1 piece buckshot
1 brass piece of saddle decoration
1 fossil (not metal, just found)
1 sledgehammer head, forgotten, alone, leaning against a tree, somewhere in Tennessee