1/12/22 (Treasure)

Hello! Don’t talk to me about how it’s December already please.

Here’s a little short thing, part of a bigger and more messy thing, about things I’ve found on my adventures in the woods.

The hand of a white person holds a fragment of pottery with blue patterning over the bed of a stream.

I’m on the hunt for treasure. I step in at the ford and head up. It’s an education in pebbles, the stones of this riverbed.

I look for pale shapes, lines, curves. Not sure if I’ll find any more, but curious to see, I find a small piece of thin white ceramic after a series of small white rocks. Quartz, in veins on opaque grey rocks, striping across in just the same way the pale edge of a shard of potter might. Some light shapes like long lozenges turn into leaves. They drift and twist away when they’re disturbed and give an illusion of silvery fishes fleeing downstream to deeper parts I won’t follow.

The only way to tell which shape is which material is to take the plunge. I remove my wristwarmer and hold it safe in my left hand in my right braves the cold and wet to feel the shapes under the surface. It’s when I try to pick them up, and sometimes when I first touch them that the uneven surface or deep shape of a bigger rock is hidden below that I know it’s not the prize I’m searching for. I grasp at the leaves and it’s like taking a hard bite of something soft, or missing the last step on a staircase. 

When I unbed my second piece of ceramic, I guess it’s porcelain, it’s so white. I wonder if I can learn to tell the difference between the types of pottery that I have a fairly basic knowledge of. I guess the first was a piece of an earthenware pot (dad said it was a bit of a jam pot, and it matches the colour and the shape of some I’m keeping pencils in), but what’s stoneware, and is that the same thing? This piece is smaller, thinner, and I’m surprised at how fast I found a second piece. A cautious excitement rises in me and urges me to continue the hunt.

Over all, I find one piece of pottery on the first day, 12 on the second (plus a piece of bone). One more on the third day when I’m only crossing to go back home, because I slow down just to look and find another little pale curve.

Jessie x

p.s. as always, please click the links to support my work by ‘buying me a coffee’ if you’re able and think I deserve it! 

p.p.s I’m reading Robert Macfarlane’s Underland at the moment and want to apologise for most of the rude things I said about his writing after reading just one (clearly not my fav or his best) book and a brilliant / hilarious review of another. I’ve not found any caves around here, but there’s definitely a mysterious hole in the waterfall that things disappear into and are never seen again…

Twelve fragments of pottery and a piece of bone on the kitchen table. They very between thick terra cotta and delicate porcelain, and in size between that of a postage stamp and almost all of the base of a cup.