Sunday, August 06, 2006


Do you want to try geocaching?
I’m not sure… Does it cost money? Do you make money?
It’s like a treasure hunt: geeks post on the web the exact location of a box…
A lockbox??
…you plug in the coordinates into your GPS (Global Positioning Systems gizmo) and then, using your GPS, you look for the box.
What kind of a box?
It has stuff in it. And you can add something to it, like a picture or some trivial nothing.

The thing is, you may not have known it, but there are hidden treasure chests, ALL OVER THE WORLD, many of them just a mile or so from where you live! But you need a GPS toy to find them.

It is hot, it is humid, it is Sunday afternoon. Ed and I set out.

Ed, you’re going the wrong way. Your GPS toy indicates we need to head south.
There is no road heading south from here. You have to follow roads. You can’t just trample across someone’s potato field.

Fine. The GPS eventually gets us to a path. We abandon the motorbike and head out. The mosquitoes are ferocious. We persevere.

If we ever find this goddamn box it better be worth it! There better be a treasure! I am being eaten out here in the swamps south of Madison!

Suddenly, the little GPS toy starts madly telling me that WE ARE THERE!
I’m standing on a bridge. Before me, a river.

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So now what? It says I am within a foot of it. Are you telling me I have to crawl under the bridge?? There's stinging nettle all around!
I am telling you nothing. The GPS is telling you to crawl under the bridge.

(pleading look from me)
Okay, I’ll crawl under the bridge.

It helps to do geocaching with someone who is willing to crawl under bridges.

There is indeed a treasure box. I sit on the bridge and rifle through the contents. Notes, photos, postcards, little things left for others to touch, exchange, share.

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I didn’t bring anything to put inside!
You have a purseful of junk…
Okay, I can part with my Whole Grains Card. It has one punch in it toward a free loaf of bread.

On the way back, I see a yellow and black bird, hiding in a field of yellow flowers. Intractable, fleeting, stunning. Chase one treasure, find that and more.

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