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Caveman Nostalgia

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  • Caveman Nostalgia

    Recently, we had a large storm come through our area. It dropped over 4.5 inches of rain in less than 2 days and had violent thunderstorms complete with microburst wind gusts.

    As I started walking up a small stream that normally carries just a trickle of water I noticed that large areas of land and trees had been torn out, revealing the history behind.

    Our geology is composed mainly of glacial till from the last ice age. We have a composite of everything from the softest clay, all kinds of stone ground down to the finest dust, to the hardest granite, stone composed by the heat and fire of the Earth's mantle and volcanoes.

    Frequently found are large pieces of shallow sea bottom or river shoreline. On these pieces are the pitter-patter of small feet forever frozen in the sands of time. Small swirls, worm and snail tracks, directional flows, even small shells can be seen. Small plant stems and leaves are occasionally found, sometimes even whole logs from a bygone forest appear as if they were freshly cut by a Stone Age logger.

    Walking up the stream I noted that the majority of the stones are broken, sharp, rough edged. "Modern stones", I tell myself, "Not a lot of story to tell." But, hey, look over there's clay next to granite - water and fire - together.

    A shiny glint catches my eye. It turns out to be a piece of patterned glass. I must be close to the old farm junk pile. The storm surge must have turned this small stream into a raging torrent. There are parts of the junk pile I've never seen before. These new exposed parts remind one of an era where everything was composed of "substance". There was no plastic, no faux construction, just steel, tin, pottery, wood, and glass.

    Here, I find an old cobalt blue Noxema container, a tin SPAM can, a clear glass container that must have had mayonnaise in it. There's a pear shaped bottle that probably had mustard inside, made by a local company. Remember, these were the days BEFORE refrigeration. Someone sure liked the Aunt Jemima maple syrup back then! There's an old broken pottery crock amid the rusting steel of old farm machinery, complete with formed handles. Found under the old steel springs of the mattress are translucent green glass, milk glass, more cobalt glass, pea green glass, uranium glass, patterns of all types, some knobby, some that look like they should come from the House of Windsor, all broken and sharp as a razor.

    An odd angular shape catches my eye. It turns out to be an old glass (not porcelain) wall light socket, with a brass chain pull switch and side receptacle. Even the white chain pull is still intact. This is my lucky day! I'll rebuild it good as new and add it to my antique collection. I have this planned to be completed on the 24th of never, like the rest of my projects.

    As I turn around to head back I start to think that those were the days when one should have been living. Those were the days when something meant SOMETHING. That was not an era of "throw-away". A wooden toy was treasured, a steel bucket was valuable, a glass cup was passed down to the next generation. Even steel barbed wire fencing was reused or repurposed until it could no longer sustain itself. Only then, only then, was it disposed of.

    I hopped over a tree, onto some of the recently washed gravel and large stone. My boot disappeared under a grey sludge not seen from above. "Be forewarned", said the old timers, "there's quicksand around here." Well, this isn't sand so much as it is churned clay but now I won't pooh-pooh some sage advice anymore. It's unusual if you haven't seen it before. The top surface looks normal, until you step on it. Then it's an eye opener! It wiggles and jiggles like Jell-O in a bowl. The surface gives way and everything moves down, fast. Coming out is not so easy. It's like the vacuum of outer space is sucking at your boot. "I guess this is how the fossils came to be", says I, after retrieving my foot and poking a large stick down into the goo. I stopped pushing after 6 feet of the limb disappeared.

    So here I am, eons ago in the days of the glaciers, cavemen, and stone. I come upon a large wall of clay exposed by the rush of the water. Most of the stones are jagged, "recently" broken. Crouching down, closer inspection found the "worker bees" of the glacier era mired in the clay. These are rounded, scarred, gouged, but generally smooth surfaced stones. They are much like one would find at a beach or lakeshore. Except these were smoothed by the pressures of tens of thousands of pounds of ice bearing down on them. I found three of these stones. Two are ancient sea bottom, torn from the shallows, and have small fossils embedded in them. They bear the scars of the journey from what is now northern Canada down towards what are now the Virginia and Kentucky states. Scratches, gouges, mayhem - all are visible on the smooth surface. The other is a basic purple-ish sedimentary stone, who happened to "get lucky", and not get ground to dust.

    I will be keeping one of these stones as a desk paperweight. The other two - the purple-ish one will go to my wife, the other, which contains fossils and clear historical data will be given to the first person from out West, who hasn't probably seen this stuff before, who sends me a PM with their address.

    Last edited by Plumber Punky; 07-13-2014, 12:30 PM.

    ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

  • #2
    You would do well, writing in the literary world. It was like I was along on your trek.

    Btw. The monsoons struck Phoenix this week. I had 4.5 drops of rain on my windshield.


    • #3
      Well written. I had no idea!


      • #4
        I was thinking the exact same thing while reading. Usually long posts like that struggle to keep my attention. I was committed to reading whatever and however much you wrote after the third paragraph. Nice story.


        • #5
          Beautifully written! Reminded me of my childhood.


          • #6
            That is well written but with the comment on the heavy rain I started thinking that a jetting story was about to begin.


            • #7
              I am anxiously awaiting your next offering.


              • #8
                Good writing-from a late reader.