Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Treasure hunter

It's gotta be here somewhere
Deerfield Beach, FL
December 2008
[Click to embiggen]
About this photo: We've been exploring "aged" photos all week long, and this one completes the cycle. I'll be posting a new Thematic Photographic entry tonight at 7:00 Eastern, but wanted to get one last one in before we switch over. Our next theme? Surprise. No, I'm not holding back on ya. The actual theme is "surprise"...scenes and photos that come about in an unplanned, fatefully cool manner. If you can't wait till tonight, head over here.
Every time I go to the beach, I come across at least one person - often more - with a metal detector. Almost like clockwork, they'll show up toward the end of the day as regular beachgoers are packing up and heading home. Also like clockwork, I'll feel a slight twinge in my heart, hoping that they're here because it's a fun way to stay active and not because they actually have to.

There's something sad in the way they methodically walk the beach, endlessly waving their detector back and forth. Their eyes are focused downward, almost deliberately avoiding contact with anyone around them. This is as solitary and quiet an activity as you'll see in a place that otherwise seems to encourage togetherness and noise - well, at least for my kids. Even they stop in their tracks as this gentleman slowly shuffles past and whisper in our ears:
  • Noah: "Is there buried treasure on this beach?"
  • Dahlia: "What's he looking for? I hope he finds it."
  • Noah: "If he finds something, can he keep it?"
  • Dahlia: "Is he okay?"
Our daughter's last question lingers with me long after I've snapped off a series of pictures before he disappears down the beach, sealed in his headphones and completely unaware of my kids' fascination. I find myself hoping that even if he finds nothing under the sand, he nevertheless goes home with something - indeed, anything - that makes the time spent by the water worthwhile.

Your turn: Looking for the needle in a haystack. Please discuss.

20 comments:

Kristina said...

My grandfather spent a lot of time on the beach doing this. This reminds me a lot of him.

Qtpies7 said...

That is a great shot! I think most people do it for fun. My husband has a metal detector, but we don't take it to the beach. He uses it to find his arrows when they miss the target and sink in the ground somewhere!

Brian said...

It's a hobby, no more, no less.

It's cold down here now. :)

Amber said...

That is an awesome post. The picture itself captures a lot of thought and emotion. Great work. You must take photos professionally.

Thanks for your comment on my photo. It was taken at Reed Bingham state park in Georgia. I took it while walking the nature trails with my children. There's something very beautiful about the park. The way the Spanish moss hangs from the trees, even the places where the water is clearly all swamp water have their own beauty.

Catherine @ The Blonde Diaries said...

Oh I remember doing something similar to that on one beach trip. My dad found a hand held metal detector at a flea market one year and brought it with us to the beach. We never found buried treasure with it. Just some pop tops from coke and beer cans.

Independent Chick said...

Great picture. Time by the water is never lost. Just being there is the treasure.

Whimsical Creations said...

I am hoping he is doing it for fun......

A Buns Life said...

I've always wondered the same things...and have hoped that it is was a hobby and they get some joy if they get lucky every once in a while. Thanks for coming by my post today!

david mcmahon said...

Thanks for the visit and your comment.

This is a wonderful photograph because it makes you look twice.

I've never seen anyone use a metal detector on a beach!

kspinning said...

This is a great post and it made me laugh a few times too. My dad just got a metal detector and he thinks it's the coolest thing and takes it everywhere! He doesn't really like hot weather or lots of sun, so I think it gives him something to do while the rest of us play and soak up the sun! :) thanks for the visit!

Tarheel Rambler said...

An interesting interpretation of this beach scene. I especially like the sentiment at the end.

Tarheel Rambler said...

Sorry, I got in too big a hurry and hit the "Enter" key before I meant to. Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello. I helped remind me to check out the other blogs Mojo honored as Diamonds in the Rockpile. I will be back. :0)

kenju said...

I don't know if most people ever find anything truly phenomenal, but the time spent walking out of doors has got to be worth a lot. I always worry about their amount of sun exposure.

Cloudia said...

Great kids. Great Post.
Found you via Daryl on the M104. Think I'll return. We have these folks at Waikiki too. Aloha-

Babystepper said...

There's a man in our community (not aged, just cheap) who goes out to the local football field after games and finds loose change with his metal detector. The image of this relatively wealthy, well-adjusted man scrabbling for quarters just cracks me up.

napaboaniya said...

I'm always amazed at people whom does this, I admire their patience!

But then again, who knows? One might just really find buried treasure :)

All Rileyed Up said...

I always thought it would be fun to do that at least once.

Sandi McBride said...

Everytime we go to the beach we come across someone with a metal detector, too! And it never fails that Mac (hubby) then spends the next month trying to find a "deal" on one so he too can find gazillions of dollars in the sand! Congrats on Post of the Day mention!
Sandi

globalgal said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I'm very new to photography. My dad, who took the alligator photo you commented on, just bought me my first digital SLR for my graduation from library school. As an amateur photographer, I will definitely be visiting your blog again!

I like to think of the man in your photo as a treasure hunter, searching for his own kind of treasure... I think what I like the most about this photo is how it provokes so much curiosity and conversation!

Mojo said...

Time spent by the ocean is never wasted in my opinion, no matter what pursuit you might be engaged in. I find treasures there every time I visit, usually in the guise of wonderful images to capture, sometimes in other more tangible forms.

But I feel the twinge you speak of. And I too hope this isn't how he's trying to scratch out a living.

And congratulations on your Post of the Day nomination for this one at David's!