“I came into this world as a reject
Look into these eyes
Then you’ll see the size of the flames
Dwellin on the past
Its burnin’ up my brain
Everyone that burns has to learn from the pain” – Limp Bizkit
Straight up. For the past 18-24 months I’ve been fortunate enough to detect “at will”. I’ve hunted 4, 5, 6 days per week at times, probably no less than 3 days per week average over any period. But as expected, various commitments have recently forced me to cut back on my detecting time, and now I have to consider detecting more like a sane human being.
I hunt solid research and stick my neck way out there, way outside my comfort zone, and continually get new permission. As a result I’ve been on a run that is downright embarrassing. Over the last year or so, I’ve dug 9 Civil War plates including a pewter CSA belt buckle, a pair of solid cast block “I” Confederate infantry buttons, a key date 1895-O Barber dime, an ultra-rare Confederate “Droop Wing” button, and a freaking George Washington inaugural button, one of the “holy grails” of detecting IMHO. I no longer maintain any bucket list because the thrill of what might come out of the ground next beats anything I could consciously think of.
One of my hunting partner haunts me with this phrase: “Dude. You can quit the hobby. You’ve dug everything there is to dig.” So I’m going to drink my second glass of wine tonight and get back to basics:
WHY DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN THIS RIDICULOUS HOBBY?
Who ever heard of a hobby where you have to continually move to new property, primarily private property, and continue to get an endless string of permission from new property owners in order to consistently be successful.
“It’s a tough hobby.” – Mike Sanderson
Why would you do it? Why do you do it?
I could give a lot of answers to that question, but for me it boils down to this:
I am addicted to the split second of time travel that occurs with every single good find. That feeling makes the bullets I dug yesterday every single bit as exciting as the first one I ever dug. Plus, I’ve worked very hard to continually refine my skills, and to be honest, I might think that I just might be one of the few people that can save certain relics that are hard to reach. And guess what? Hate to burden you with it, but if you are bold enough to get the permission, and you are the one that is there, then that person in sole position to save those relics before they deteriorate, or are paved over or otherwise destroyed, is probably you.
FEED ON NEGATIVITY
I respect the many great detectorists that have gone before us. Most of them have freely shared encouragement, guidance and tips that have saved me a lot of grief and pointed me in the right direction time and time again. With that said, the year is 2016, and though a lot of it is reality, I am told time and time again that permission has become difficult to obtain, and all the really good sites have been hunted out. Yet, with all due respect, I, and an army of detectorists like me, continue to get permission and dig relics in the places in question, and “the relics never lie”.
Someone told me recently that the worst thing about metal detecting is other detectorists. That is harsh, but if you are successful at detecting, you learn this as a profound truth that you really wouldn’t believe otherwise. I’ve seen great detectorists consistently and repeatedly accused of stealing people’s sites and infringing on other detectorists “territory”, and that they buy items from eBay and bury them for attention. None of this is true, of course. Successful detectorists are regularly and unjustly called hypocrites, thieves, and liars, and even been called out because of political or religious beliefs – over METAL DETECTING?!?!? And yes, most of the time these claims are made over social media or instant messenger to third parties, not directly. Never mind how hard they worked on research and permission and detecting skill – they are obviously cheating. The fox and the grapes. Show me a successful detectorist that someone isn’t railing on about something and I’ll show you a fictional character!
STAY FIRED UP
So what do you do? Tuck tail and say “screw this hobby”? People are too cutthroat and its too hard? Of course not. Continue to enjoy the history, and enjoy the adventure, the good relationships, and fulfillment that comes with each find. Like anything worth doing, focus on the good things.
So when you are burned out or frustrated because of social media, or a bad slump, or a bad experience with another detectorist, remember what you enjoy about detecting – why you keep doing it. Is it the thrill of each find? The people you meet getting permission? The bliss of being away from your day job? Whatever it is, connect with it, understand it, and be at peace.
Stay hungry, because detecting is part of who you are. Detect smarter, continue to improve, follow more of your own advice, and swing for the fence more often. I submit to you that your best detecting days are ahead of you, not behind you.