We walked our woods Saturday, sans snowshoes, (sadly, they’re not needed at this time.) We marveled at some cool ice formations, gawked at some rusty easy chair springs sticking up out of the snow and leaves and couldn’t believe our eyes when Will spotted two empty 55-gallon barrels on the bank of the Presumpscot River. They certainly weren’t there as recently as a month ago. How in the hell did they land there? Together, in perfect composition.
My imagination stirred. Hmmm. Oil drums. Embedded in ice at the shallow edge of our river. Not exactly a wholesome stumble-upon, but certainly a compelling set up.
One barrel has big block letters that spell WASTE OIL on it and also seems to possess some serial or identification numbers along the rim. The other is just uninterrupted gorgeous rust tones. They’re both in really good shape and the scavenger in me wants very much to claim them for repurposing. I can envision a blazing fire in a barrel stuffed with branches and the soft, piney wood I wouldn’t want to burn in the fireplace. Another vision has rakes, brooms, pitchforks and shovels upended in the oxidized barrel, stored for the winter in the barn. Or maybe it’s set up under a dripping eave, peacefully collecting rainwater for watering flowers.
Whether we get to be the ones to take possession of them and drag them through the woods to the house will play out in the thawing months. Soon, I will call the cops to dutifully report the existence of the barrels on our property. Probably, they were dumped in the river in an act of vandalism at the Gambo Dam turbine building, which is the next man-made structure upstream from our property. The cops might keep them for their own garage purposes, return them to their owner if they can be traced or (and here’s my personal preference,) they could honor the old “finders keepers” rule.