The other day while digging through a cabinet in our garage, I stumbled upon a shoebox that had been shoved to the back and that showed signs that it had been there for some time. When I finally cleared everything in front and on top of it away in order to extract it and investigate what it contained, I noticed immediately upon lifting it from the shelf upon which it rested that it was very heavy. Opening it, I found that it contained an assortment of rocks, shells, and other curiosities wrapped carefully inside a bandanna. These were the artifacts of my first explorations into natural history during my childhood.
From where they all came I cannot correctly say. One, a piece of obsidian, I recall being given by the husband of my piano teacher, an amateur “rock hound” himself. Another, a hunk of brain coral, likely came from one of the people with whom my mother worked at Bumble Bee Seafoods (the tuna boat captains had been to such interesting, far off places). A large piece of agate I recalled finding in my grandparent’s backyard. The origins of the rest were, and at present still are, mysteries.
I remember greatly treasuring these items when I was a boy. I kept them prominently displayed in my room, spread out atop my dresser like some prized collection in a very small and poorly funded museum. So important were they too me that even once the tempestuous teen-age years hit, I still kept them safe. Did I perhaps subconsciously know that one day the Sturm und Drang of youth would subside and I would find them interesting once again?
Now once again unearthed, or at least un-cabineted, this childhood collection now rests prominently alongside the books in our library to help me remember that as our own daughter grows older, she may one day find that the things she once found so fascinating, things in which she and I now share interests, uninteresting. However if the interest was well supported when it was alive, even a hiatus from it will not extinguish it and one day it may very well return and continue to grow once again.