I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

My latest cache turned out to be a little PVC contraption, partially buried in the mulch of a rose garden. Anyone else would mistake it for a capped pipe or sprinkler, but for those of us who engage in our secret art, it protruded from the garden like the proverbial sore thumb. Oddly, however, it was in a street median of a wealthy neighborhood. Luckily, I was able to park behind the trailer of a lawn crew and blend in with the rest of the poors until I was in the garden itself. The dog walkers and strollers, trotting past houses larger and more expensive than anything I’ll ever own, seemed to pay me no mind as I did my work. I always feel more exposed than usual in nicer neighborhoods. If there’s anywhere I stand out, it’s near borderline mansions. But I accomplished my mission, which is all that matters.

The previous day, I found a different cache that elicited a different kind of strange feeling. I went for a simple LPC. I had attempted it before, but I found the broken remains of the container missing a log, so it was a DNF. This time, it was there. I claimed it and went on with things, but I felt a little dirty. The theme of the cache was related to mountaineering because when it was placed, there was a homeless camp nearby, filled with tents, resembling a base camp. I’ve gotten caches before that have been close to homeless encampments. Everyone needs a place to lay their head. But it feels questionable to devote a cache to the reality of people in social crisis. Even more saddening (at least for me) was that the tents were all gone. The camp had been removed. Who even knows where those people might be now? And how should I feel knowing that I am effectively playing with the memory of their presence and absence? And, despite my apprehension, I signed that log without hesitation. Many caches linger with you for a number of reasons. I have the feeling that the shadow of this one is going to stick with me for a little while.

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