Tom Cooch wrote:
> ...There won't be too many new boxes going out over the next few
> months, at least not in the northeast. Will we find things to talk
> about in the interim? (Kind of like parents facing each other across
> the table, after their children have left home.)
A bit long note here. Read if you have time:
Something tells me this group will have no trouble finding things to
yak about. Here's something to yak about that perhaps will not bore
you: I had a dream a few days ago which may relate to letterboxing,
secrets, hiding, etc.
First a little background:
I recently divorced after a short marriage to someone I did not take
the time to get to know. As a result of the separation I was forced
to live outside my own house (the house I had owned prior to getting
married) while my wife and her boyfriend lived it up at my expense.
They had charged $10,000.00 on my Visa card and drained my bank
account before I was able to figure out what was happening. Even
still, she managed (through the courts) to keep me out of my house
for 21 more months. But 3 weeks ago she was finally evicted from the
house. Oh, happy day! But unfortunately, almost everything I had
owned prior to meeting her turned up missing. I have nobody to turn
to now but a reluctant insurance adjuster. In addition my house was
trashed to the tune of $7,500.00. So there's nothing I can do now but
BTW, this is an ENTIRELY true story. If you want I will accomodate
you with hard evidence (court records).
Now here's the dream I had a few days ago:
My wife and her friends were showing up by my house and were causing trouble
there. The house looked like somebody had been tampering with
it. It made me feel as though what little I had left there was probably
being taken. So I asked her, "Where did you get a key to my house? You're
not supposed to be here anymore. You're trespassing." I knew I had changed
the locks since she left. But she would not answer me. She just stood there
staring defiantly as if to say, "You figure it out." Later on in the dream
I let myself into the house with my key and I found an old friend hiding in
the closet. He said that he and his other friends had cleaned the entire
house from top to bottom and were watching over the place for me. I felt
happy & relieved then because my friends had been watching out for me and
helping me while I was away. You can't imagine what a good feeling that was.
While I had thought I was in for more heartache instead I found out that I
had friends preparing the place and watching over it.
How does this dream relate to letterboxing? Well, that's a point for
discusssion. Here's what I think: The dream has hiding involved, it has
division involved and it also has some false impressions.
But most importantly it reveals that something good was happening, not
something bad as was originally perceived. I had come to believe that
certain bad things were continuing to happen at my house (in my dream),
but instead my friends had been there taking care of things.
No enemy had encroached again as I had suspected. In letterboxing too
I have gained friends and some of you have come through for me at crucial
moments when I felt like giving up. Sometimes its been just a short note
like, "Go Dan'l." or "Hang in there."
But compare the dream in general to some of our recent letterboxing
foibles: In the dream was this division with my wife who was taking
things. Do you remember last summer when we had the division with ILC?
Many people felt that our art and our openness and ultimately our fun were
on the verge of being taken away by rampant commercialism. That was very
And more recently we have been accused (though I presume it was mainly me being
accused) of mounting up some sort of commercial effort or assualt on British
letterboxing. But this flies in the face of any true intentions. To my
knowledge to date not one person has expressed any overt interest in Dartmoor
save the kind that seek out more friends, more openness, more inclusivity, etc.
Certainly none of us has done any harm to Dartmoor people or to letterboxing.
So this is my interpretation of the dream as concerns letterboxing: I believe
the old friend hiding in the closet represents the original spirit we had last
March (and still have) -- the fun, comradery and openness on which we based this
simple, cooperative effort which has already narrowly survived the commercial
onslaughts of ILC. And I believe my ex-wife coming around to take what little
was left represents this recent accusation - the fear and paranoia that's been
generated by some of Adrian's (i hope former) friends. His friends had thought
that we would ruin letterboxing (which they say lies in its secrecy.) But if
we believe this accusation it is likely to have a debilitating effect on us.
So let's not. I believe another role of the friend in my dream was to instruct
on why not to listen to false accusations. You all have helped me to
develop the hobby here in the U.S., and you all have remained sincere and honest
in your efforts. So you have been cleaning up and watching over things at times
when I was prone to listen to accusations and become overly emotional in
my reactions to them. That's what friends do. They watch over things while
you are away or when you don't know how to deal with a certain problem. They
say things like, "Relax. Have a cup of tea. We'll take care of it for you."
A general conclusion:
Remember your "old friends" (the fun and innocence and
openness). That is what has made the effort what it is. Its valuable indeed,
this openness and fun. So let's jealously guard that.
Its the thing that's been hidden (until now) but its now being revealed (just
like my friend in my dream who was hiding in the closet.) That's the true
secret of letterboxing that will be revealed to anyone who cares to hear about
it -- this friend we didn't know we had who's been hiding and preparing things
for us -- this simple fun. That's why the Kids Corner is such an important
advance for us. Even if we don't have kids in our lives we can rediscover
our knack to have fun like child would. So I believe this will
clear up the confusion and misunderstandings that have hung
over us like a pall since last April when ILC first came on the scene.
And anyone who cares to listen to this can take part
in the fun. All they have to do is keep on enjoying and having fun, and if
they come to this list to just do it with a healthy outlook. Don't whine &
don't accuse. We're in this for the fun and nothing more. Nobody here is out
to make a buck on the good intentions of others (or their art). Nobody here is
interested in violating the hobby of letterboxing in any way. We just use maps
and the internet because there's no other way to do it with an area this large.
Internet does have a downside to it - that's true.
But a fringe benefit of the internet is that we get to have this wide array
of interesting people involved. And eventually, just about anywhere you go in
the U.S. you will be able to have some letterboxing fun and be part of this
interesting combination of maps, hiding places and fun.
So lets let this New Year be a new year in letterboxing in which we will
preserve the spirit and comradery we started out with (and that we'll jealously
guard it throughout the coming year.) I'm sure that since this is a totally
open and unregulated list our only defense against attacks in the future will
be to stick together and remain friends at whatever level the internet will
afford. I say that many of you are friends. I do hope to meet some of you in
the coming year and I wish you all well until such time that we can do more
together, whether via internet or in person.
Ps. Sorry about your box being vandalized Randy.
You know, there will always be a bit of
contradiction (and tension) between the yearning to be open and the (very
real) need to be secretive and/or hidden. I've learned this the hard way
But a good letterbox, I think, will be easy enough to invite some fun and not
be so secretive/hidden as to prevent discovery. The secret, I think,
is to somehow not invite the wrong people to look for or stumble accross
our boxes. Perhaps this can be accomplished if in the fronts of our minds
(as we are looking for hiding places) we consider the kinds of people we would
like to discover our letterboxes as well as the kinds we would like NOT to
Adrian's old friends and the people who stole or vandalized Deborah's and
Randy's boxes are the wrong people. I'm sure there's some way to dissociate
from them besides the obvious ways -- perhaps in the way we hide boxes, make
up clues, etc. Let's discover those ways together. It can be fun.
Also, i agree with Adrian that Compass bearings can add fun to the hunt
(if that's what you said Adrian). I think you will be much less apt then to
feel as though you've been led on a "Wild Goose Chase".
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