Everything’s in motion at ground zero. Folks are chowing down at nearby eateries and running their weekend errands. Muggles in motion all over the place.
One of the things I love about geocaching is it slows me down and connects me with the world — the immediate environment of the cache I’m seeking at this moment.
Here I am in a paved-over portion of Centreville on Saturday. The road noise of tires in front of me, the roar of nearby I-66, car doors slamming and hurried conversations in this parking lot — it’s all nearly deafening.
It’s not a pretty scene but it has its own pulse, its own rhythms. As a Geocacher it’s my mission to get in touch with those rhythms and use their stealthy sweet spots to sign that log and replace the cache as I found it, hopefully without being detected. If possible, I want this cache today, and this is the only chance I’ll have to get it today. This mission is a challenge and a pleasure.
After watching and listening for awhile I realize I must time my approach to the likely hiding place with the rhythm of the traffic lights controlling the flow in the road just yards away. Muggles in vehicles need to be rolling, not sitting and looking at me, when I go for the hide.
That’s the big midday Saturday rhythm. The parking lot also has its own irregular rhythms, people coming and going on foot and by car. It takes some time for things to sync in both places, the road in front of me and the parking lot around me, for both fetching the cache and putting it back after signing the log.
While reading these rhythms I’m paying very close attention to everything going on at this place in this moment. It’s late winter and the nearby leafless bushes thrusting up between the parking lot and the road reveal a low bird’s nest from seasons gone by.
Will someone nest here again once spring comes? Will it be easier to approach this cache when winter is over? For a moment, geocaching gives my complete attention to a very particular time and place, and that’s a very fine gift indeed.