It was just an ordinary run. Ordinary mileage. Ordinary route. Ordinary weather. No different from any average day’s run over the last 20 years. In terms of found objects alone, it was hardly extraordinary. In town, out of town, at a race, on the trail, lots of stuff gets left behind on the road for me to find. Such as:
Underwear (panties, with stripes) ● Recreational drugs ● Money (coins and bills) ● An unopened jar of creamy peanut butter ● Driver’s license (right outside the driver’s house) ● Condoms ● A fully cooked lobster in the middle of a footbridge ● Earrings missing their mates ● Shoes/socks missing their mates ● Bikini top missing its bottoms ● Kittens/puppies missing their owners ● A desktop calendar page: July 22nd ● Framed photo of boyfriend/husband with face smashed ● Hair bows, barrettes, clips, bands ● Rusted hull of a VW Beetle (found on a remote trail) ● Dead sofa (dumped in the woods by the lake) ● Refrigerators (also dumped in the woods) ● Christmas tree still bearing tinsel ● Bouquet of roses, ribbon attached reading Congratulations ● Assortment of abandoned diapers (used/full/gross) ● Recliner stuck in the reclined position (beside the railroad tracks) ● A human male, fully clothed, lying face-down in a ditch outside a hotel in the desert ● A human male, fully clothed, lying in a fetal position on a suburban porch ● A human male, fully clothed, lying face-up in his front yard holding a shovel ● A human male, fully clothed, walking a llama on a leash down a dirt road ● Seasonal gloves, hats, scarves, sunglasses ● Dog licking the stump of his severed leg ● Dog wearing a cowl (you know, the cone of shame), chased me into traffic (the shame is mine) ● Cat with one eye, worm hanging out of its mouth ● Bird of prey with rat in talons ● Love letters ● Homework ● Utility bills ● Knives, saw blades, screwdrivers ● Keys
Yesterday I found a set of fairy wings with glitter spirals, a silver ornament missing its belly dancer, a penny from 1937 (!), and a tiny lasso missing a tiny cowboy (or cowgirl). All in one day—all on one run! It took me 20 years to encounter all of the things listed above but all of these were found in one jaunt through my neighborhood on the proverbial any given Sunday. The penny was first. Then the ornament. Then the lasso. I found the wings last, half a mile from home. Yes, of course I carried them half a mile home.
A practical person would assume a butterfly shed her Halloween costume during trick-or-treating and somehow the wings survived the elements for two weeks until I found them. I am not so practical. I think a fairy went through the veil between the worlds and left her wings behind. I was supposed to find them for safekeeping because she’ll be back. I tried them on. They are too small for me. I will be their guardian until the fairy returns. I will leave a note near the place where I found the wings so the fairy will know how to find me. It will read “Dear Darling Fairy, I have rescued your wings. I am holding them safe until your return. You can find me near this corner three or four days per week or at the Jesus Crack House most any time. Yours truly, Me.”
A practical person would find a penny near a church and assume it was meant for the offering plate. I am not so practical. This penny is from 1937—-that’s pre-WWII—and it is beat to hell. This must have been someone’s lucky penny, lost when his luck finally ran out. Meant for me to find. Meant to spark my interest about what the world was like in 1937. FDR was President. Nylon was just being patented. American cars were still made in the United States. Daffy Duck was the latest character created for Looney Tunes. Walt Disney premiered Snow White. Spam hit the grocery stores. Marijuana was outlawed in the U.S. The Communist Party was robust and mobilizing in the Soviet Union. The Irish Free State became Ireland. The Hobbit was published. It was a heady time in history, was it not?
A practical person would find a dangly silver ornament near a funeral home and imagine it the leavings of some well-groomed socialite mourner. I am not so practical. This pendulous treasure was also found near the fire station. I think one of the firemen must have gotten a promotion and been gifted a belly dancer as a party favor. Some dark-haired, dark-eyed, round-hipped beauty probably shimmied with so much ripe passion and hot celebration for her fire-fella that her costume fell apart. In the scramble to recover her scanty vestments this telltale piece was left behind. Meant for me to find. Meant to remind me of a poem I once wrote for woman of her profession. Meant to send me combing through the archives to find it and resurrect it. With it resurrects the desert dancer I used to be, though not of the belly variety.
A practical person would find this short length of red string and imagine the broken lace of hiking boot. Or the broken handle of a trick-or-treat bucket. Or the excess cut away from a section of binding twine. It could be anything, really. I am not so practical as to think any of these things. I think the raccoons and possums in my neighborhood are ridden by tiny cowboys (Rodent boys? Marsupial boys?) on nights when the wind blows from the southwest. They ride bareback, of course, with nothing but these frugally repurposed ropes to wrangle their studs. I hear them whooping at night. It makes my dog bark. It makes the stray cats run back under the House of Man Boobs. They crack pecans on the courthouse lawn and sneak into the Royal Theatre to sing songs of the lonesome prairie upon the darkened stage because the acoustics are so fine. They must have been out busting broncos under the SuperMoon. One of them most have been thrown. I wonder what he’d trade me to have his lasso back?
It’s clear to you, isn’t it? This goodness? This wellness? The practice? Running is good for wellness. Treasure finding (as opposed to treasure hunting) is also good for wellness. A commitment to letting fun meet you right where you are, whatever you happen to be doing, is even better for wellness. Practice with me, my friends.