July 29, 2020
By Arthur H. Gunther III
When in the time of virus you are so bored that you run from the house screaming “I can’t take it any more,” how do you return to normal blood pressure?
For me last week it was walking about the upper back yard surveying trees and rocks and some grass and more weeds that I usually do not look at. I can see the space just find from the lower lawn or a screened-in porch, so the upper yard is mostly a nice backdrop for the usual passing of time and day-dreaming.
Walking about the place in Blauvelt, N.Y., a few days ago, I noticed something shiny, trapped by a tree root. Since my back yard was once part of a 1920s home, it is not unusual to find buried things that pop up as trees grow and the land evolves, In the 1920s-’30s, homeowners did not always have trash pickup. They would burn paper, compost the scraps and bury tin cans and glass jars, though they might reuse the glass. My upper yard includes these items plus lots of coal cinders from the hand-stoked furnace days.
When I saw the shiny bit, I figured it was glass, which I have occasionally dug up. I first used a small knife to carefully make my archaeological dig, then a shovel. I thought I would eventually pick out broken glass but, lo and behold, what I dislodged was a 1930s jelly glass, the kind that was meant for reuse as a drinking vessel during the Great Depression.
Took a while to clean it up — nature had filled it with dirt, but it came out nice. Added the discarded wiring from a 1940s Mason jar.
All in all, great respite in the time of virus.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. email@example.com