A cold, rainy Saturday – how awesome is that?!? Well I suppose it depends who you ask; but since I’m the highest-paid contributor to this blog, chances are good that you’re about to get my version of things. I suppose to be more accurate, I should clarify that today only started as cold and rainy. It got better from there.
To me, any day with just so much as a sliver of unplanned, unscheduled time, is a day with untold potential. I believe that what we do with the time when no one is making us do something is what really defines who we are. Some people like to chill on their days off. (For my more “seasoned” readers, that’s the art of doing nothing.) I’m told by those well-versed in this art that it is a skill which requires much time and dedication to perfect. I have also been told by those well-versed in this art that I do not have that skill. It seems if my mind is in motion, my body’s sure to follow. The past week was a good example of that, having been pedal-to-the-metal day in and day out; so the idea of having a few days off seems particularly sweet right now.
The dreary morning gave just enough opportunity to take care of some obligations around the house that I felt compelled (by my wife) to address, before heading off into the peaceful bliss of wet woodlands. My youngest daughter has been asking for help to put out a few of her own geocaches, building on an idea I had shared with her called “lost places.” I had been thinking of doing a series of caches to be hidden at abandoned structures or forgotten natural features, since these locations are all around us, just covered up by the growth of time. She loved this idea, and together we schemed-up two hides to start the series. Old boots and warm grungy clothes are all that’s required for an assignment like this. Oh, plus that uber-cool “geocaching hat” my wife bought me for Christmas – yeah, the one she says I can’t wear when we’re out together . . . check, good to go!
Unlike the state I grew up in, Virginia has an abundance of old tobacco barns. The log structures that were once used to dry the cash crop now dot the landscape like ghosts from a world past; some standing against the sun and rain, others completely overtaken by trees and briars, virtually erased from the landscape. I love exploring these relics when I get the chance. Often they’re surrounded by other outbuildings and remnants of tools and trinkets, still telling stories from days gone by. Indeed, this off-color day in winter turned out to be an ideal time to explore these areas which are often overrun by ticks and snakes in the warmer months when the summer sun beats down.
The final destination of our day was a forgotten lake within walking distance of my workplace, although the walk entailed some pretty serious bushwhacking. After securing the perfect hiding spot for the second in our “Lost Place” series of caches, we took a minute to enjoy the quiet solitude of this once-bustling outdoor playground before hiking back to civilization. Any local folks recognize this view?