Close this search box.

Taking Time to Look

Dan Blaufuss | June 2010

    I recently learned about geocaching, which is using a global positioning device to find hidden containers, more commonly called caches. These caches vary in size from plastic film canisters or smaller to old metal ammo boxes. They always contain a logbook for people to sign along with the date they found a cache, and the larger ones frequently house trinkets as well – anything from small plastic toys to markers with  serial numbers that can be tracked on the internet.
    Some caches are easy to find, while others, especially the small ones, are fiendishly difficult to locate. Occasionally you will be sent to specific coordinates not to find a cache but to find a clue that will lead you to the cache – or another clue. I have had to do math and solve crossword puzzles to get correct coordinates. One cache  is hidden across the street from my church; the instructions gave coordinates and suggested I bring tweezers. I never found that one. Other caches are multi-part; I know of one in the area that requires seekers to find four separate caches, each of which contains part of the instructions for finding a fifth and final cache.
    What surprised me the most about geocaching is that caches are seemingly everywhere, lurking just out of sight. There are currently more than one million of them dispersed on all seven continents. There are even two within walking distance of our office in Northfield. One is near a busy sidewalk, and the other is on the bike trail at the end of the street. I have passed by these two containers many times without ever knowing they were there.
    In a way, it reminds me of the school I taught at. Some digging during the summer uncovered a set of xylophone bars, wrapped in a blanket, buried in a pile at the bottom of a practice room. The stand was never found, but the bars were the treasure. It is also why I enjoy going antiquing. Antique malls typically have a lot of useless junk, but I’ve found great deals on both musical instruments and interesting books simply by taking the time to look.
    This month I am taking a week’s vacation; on my agenda is a road trip to Ohio. I have no plan and no idea what I’ll find, but the adventure is in going to look; if I do find something it merely adds to the experience. I hope that you take opportunities this summer to look at local or national treasures you may never given much thought to before. As Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes) once said, there’s treasure everywhere.