Things I’ve found this summer:

A birds nest.

A couple of weekends ago, we stopped to take a break on our way down the Pioneer Ridge trail and I looked over my shoulder into the brush and there it was, tucked into the crook of a couple of small branches. We were all amazed to see it there, right on the trail, last year’s nest. Had any of last year’s hikers noticed it there behind the leaves? Had they spotted the birds flitting this way and that into the brush? Had they heard little peeps coming from the leaves? Maybe not. I pulled the nest out to take it home with me. Angie said that when she was a kid, her mother would have never let her have it because birds are dirty. But surely the subzero temperatures we suffered through this winter killed those germs? I shrugged and carried it in my palm the rest of the way down the trail. Now it lives on my porch.

Also found:

A shovel.

Yesterday, I was driving near my house, distracted by bicyclists on the shoulder of the road, black numbers written on their bare arms. A race. It was hot and sunny and I felt sorry for them, but maybe they’re the kind of people who like the heat. I am not one of those people. As I crested a hill I noticed something laying in the other lane. A shovel. The other drivers in the oncoming lane were avoiding it by swerving onto the shoulder but that’s where all the cyclists were riding. I had visions of a truck kicking up the shovel under its wheels and the shovel flying and knocking someone off their bike. My vivid imagination had me u-turning to circle back for it.

I pulled off into the center median next to where the shovel lay and ran around my car during a break in traffic. A portly woman on her bicycle looked at me questioningly but then she realized what I was doing and she said, “Well, that’s a very nice thing for you to do. And now you’ve acquired a brand new shovel.”

Now it lives on my front porch next to the birds nest.

I have a knack for finding things.

My crowning achievements? Once I found a crumpled $10 bill on the sidewalk in the rain downtown as I hurried over to the law library to do some research I didn’t feel like doing. I stuffed it in my pocket and thought, “Woohoo! Ten dollars.” Suddenly the research seemed worth it. But then as I crossed the street I thought about how all I’d seen was a 1 and a 0 on the bill and wouldn’t it be funny if it was actually a 1 and an 0 and another 0? I pulled it out of my pocket, thinking to myself: that’ll be the day. I unwadded it, and whaddaya know? It was a $100 bill! Score.

It’s a heavy burden actually, this finding the $100, because occasionally a person will brag to me about how they found $5, or $10, or $20. I’m always tempted to scoff and tell them, “This one time…” But that seems ungracious so I keep it to myself.

What else have I found?

Well, last spring I was walking the dog behind my gym after a yoga class. There was a melting snowbank where the plows had pushed the snow all winter. I noticed lots of bits and stuff on the pavement on the edge of the snowbank and so I went over to take a look. I found an ipod touch! And it had angry birds on it. And a bunch of rap music that I figured could only belong to a teenaged boy. Maybe he got it for Christmas? A boy who’d emerged from the gym in the middle of winter after basketball practice, perhaps during a big fluffy snowfall, cradling all his stuff– sweatshirt, shoes, socks, water bottle, ipod, etc… and because the ipod was so slippery & heavy he dropped it in the snow without noticing and a plow came along & scooped it up and pounded it into the mountain of snow to wait for me to find it. I didn’t really want to give it back but “Dad” was listed in the contacts so I finally gave Dad a call but Woohoo! all I got was a recording telling me the number had been disconnected. I called it mine.

I also found a knife recently. A folding knife but when I spotted it, it was laying open on the bank next to a lake where people fish and our two dogs were running back and forth in the same area and so I thought it was lucky they hadn’t stepped on the knife & cut their paws open.

I wonder what else I’ll find this summer?


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