Other animals find "treasure" and hide it away, like the squirrel who used to bury walnuts in my flower pots, forget about them, then leave them to me to pull as weeds the following spring. So it's a cross-species instinct, this collecting special things and making a stash.
We have a lot of boxes, baskets, bottles and other containers strewn about the outdoor classroom and inside each of them, when I open them, almost always I find something, usually categorized in some recognizable way. But even when it seems like a random collection, I suspect I'd find the central idea if I just sat thinking about it long enough.
We made binoculars from toilet paper tubes, theater lighting gel scraps, tape, scissors and rubber bands the other day, and these really seemed to help us find the things we sought.
And, of course, we also have a lot of things to find, hundreds if not thousands of treasures, the vestiges of Little World (read from the bottom up for the full story), a place that only exists today at Woodland Park as an idea. There are lots of florist marbles, strings of beads, and fairy figurines out there, but also all kinds of other stuff from bottle caps and wine corks to mahjong tiles and other game pieces, sea shells, pine cones, and parts of things that were once something else. We've recently added a set of outdoor Duplos and Lincoln Logs to the mix, items that currently reside in their own containers, but will, I'm sure eventually find their way into the turf underfoot and other nooks and crannies, including our boxes and containers.
Why is it that I'm so insistent upon these kinds of things being put properly away indoors, while outside I only expect a half-hearted clean up effort at best? I even have an old cigar box inside with the mind-blowing label "missing pieces" in which all these loose parts are collected to later be sorted into their proper places, while outside it may just lie on the ground for weeks and months, getting buried, then rediscovered with the kick of a toe, only to be re-buried again in the very next moment. It's an inconsistency I have no compunction to reconcile, however, because it just feels like the right way to "store" things in the two places, but I sure would like to come up with some language that would explain it reasonably to others.
Maybe that's what these containers full of treasures are, "missing pieces" cigar boxes, where, in fact, found pieces are contained. Or maybe they're just little indoors spaces in the great outdoors. I tend to think of the dens of squirrels and other mammals, and the nests of birds, as being relatively tidy and organized as well, so this is all possibly part of the same cross-species instinct, this division between how we organize inside and out.
Who knows? I sure don't, but it's sure fun making this kind of order from disorder, especially with a pair of toilet paper binoculars and a group of friends to help.