The earth turns up new treasures with each season. After the final melt, Juana has me scour the hills looking for new stones that she can direct me to add to a wall or a garden outline. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular today, but after a foot of rain over the last few weeks, it was likely that a new things would appear on the grounds as the rivers of water coming off the hill bring out new stones and history.
This afternoon, I took a garbage can full of Japanese Maple branch trimmings through the side gate to dump in the woods. As I swung the gate open, I noticed a golf ball about 10 feet in front of me. I have a neighbor who thinks little of launching old golf balls over his hill into my back yard. I have yet to catch him (or her) in the act. But Charlotte likes to play with the balls so I pick it up to deposit it with the others. I then notice an old Ticonderoga pencil next to a piece of brown flashing. Again, new wash up that I collect. But as I stare forward I spot something else that is a little brown, a little rectangular and a little familiar. It’s the wallet that I lost nearly 4 years ago while working in the garden.
As I picked it up I noticed that moss had started to inhabit one of its leather sides on top of which a slug was resting. I tossed the slug off and waited for a moment. I remember that when I lost the wallet, it contained a few hundred dollars. Stories of the resiliency of the U.S. greenback abound as its linen and cotton base can stand up to any kind of weather. When I cracked open the trifold, a few multi-legged bugs scampered out and a bit of mud fell. No sign of any currency.
I brought the billfold back to the picnic table to the amazement of Juana and we started to decant its contents. There were a few shreds of currency left. We found the lower left corner of a $5 bill, the upper right corner of a $1 bill, a currency security strip and a few other pieces of a bill that were hard to identify. All my credit cards were intact and aged (and expired) though a Borders gift card was beyond useless though one from Barns & Noble should still be good. My AARP member card delaminated. There was no sign of a picture I had of Juana when she was all of 19 years old or my social security card. My Connecticut drivers license appeared brand new, as did I with nary a gray hair on my beard or head. It was the only thing that was not ravaged by being buried for four years.
The strange thing about this find is that I could have sworn I looked for it in the very space where it was found. More than a few times. All of the money that I thought was in the wallet, was long gone most likely digested by a variety of bugs, some of which were still moving out after I put my wallet in the sun to dry. With a reflexive move, I checked my pocket; my wallet was not there. I let loose a little smile: for the past four years I always place my wallet on a small shelf by the front door and NEVER carry it when I garden.