On Monday, it was raining. I was out running the dogs, taking my usual walk up and around the forest. Lazily, enjoying the rich damp smell, I decided to go in and check the flower beds. Because of the rain, everything was very wet and silent and still, and all the vegetation was brilliantly green. The mosses growing over the dead leaves and rotting logs was vivid. Almost impulsively, I went over and gathered some: I was thinking about K's terrariums.
Despite always having admired the idea of terrariums, the thought of starting my own had never crossed my mind until I started dating the terrarium aficionado that is K. He has three flourishing in his bedroom: a smallish growler, a sideways wine bottle, and a lightbulb. They are lovely and fantastic, so when I saw the lush moss brightly contrasted against the forest floor, I couldn't help myself. I only realized after gathering a large handful that I would need a glass bottle before I could proceed any further. Then I remembered the junkyard.
Buried in layers of rose and raspberry bushes and punctuated by chokecherry trunks, the junkyard my great grandfather established before my grandma was born has stood untouched since my last proper visit, ten years ago. Everything that was old back then is even older. I remembered it differently: more abundant, more mysterious, less as a scourge on the environment--less of a junkyard, really. My young mind looked at it as a treasure trove, something exciting and secret: there was nothing to worry about concerning morality or danger, it was merely something to explore. I remember imagining that I would find something really valuable, then dream up all the things I would buy with my new riches.
Stepping carefully around anything that resembled broken glass or sharp rusty metal, a practice reminiscent of days long past, I elbowed through the branches in search of anything with terrarium promise. I found the bottom part of an oil lamp (unfortunately the glass part was broken), parts of a car and stove, a chicken feeder, vodka and ketchup bottles, a huge rusty and mossy barrel, rusty metal kegs, rolls of chicken wire, fully rusted tin cans, numerous teal plastic containers, and--my adventure's goal--varieties of glass jars.
After gathering a small but successful yield, I departed. I didn't stay for hours of further adventuring; I didn't double-check the inside of every tin can for lost treasure. When I left, I left any mystery that may have still surrounded the old junkyard behind. I have grown up. I no longer play all day in old forests in search of potential riches. I no longer see huge heaps of rotting tin as the houses of magical forest creatures. As the tragedy of adulthood would enforce, everything has become plainly exposed for what it really is. The forest is just a bundle of old trees, the junkyard is just some overgrown old junk. It was sad to feel the nostalgic wonder fade into drab reality as a scrambled into the clearing and made for home with my armful of bottles.
But, perhaps, one man's junk is still another man's treasure? Perhaps the fact that I even bothered to return to the junkyard demonstrates that there is still a little childish wonder left in me. Maybe these old fantasies don't have to die? Maybe they just transfer into the desire to watch a little moss take over an old beer bottle...