There are two young children here in the caravan park, in the warm summer, on the hot grass and they have a metal detector.
They are purposeful, their backs are bent and their thin arms concentrate on the work. Every patch of patchy ground has potential…. gravel, sand, garden, asphalt, earth, kerb, grass, cement…all are tried and tried.
The detector beeps a small hoot every now and again and they stop and bob about to retrieve the treasure – a bottle top, a slip of metal, a casket of jewels. They scrape sand back reverently but there is usually nothing there. Then they push the sand back into place, gentle caretakers of this unnoticed ground.
But suddenly they have found something, and the detector makes a vast sound.
He says: it’s nothing.
She says: it’s something, look.
And they lean in, knees hopeful and noses together.
He says: it’s metal?
She says: it’s glass. It’s this. It’s this.
She picks it up, a small thing, holds it cupped and close, running eyes over the pleasing magic.
She says: it’s golden glass.
He says: it’s gold glass.
They take it to the tap and rinse the sand away from its golden value and the detector lies in the grass forgotten. The entire day, so deeply entered, is also forgotten.
The tap flashes in the sun, the stream of water flashes in the sun, their blond childhood heads blaze through the water drops, the warm, ticking scrub leaning kindly over them and the sea itself acknowledging the wisdom.
Photography by Yeshi Kangrang
Noah and Max have so much to do. There is an entire landscape of camping supplies to process and record.
They are each making new maps, superior charts that include sound, shape, heat and hunger.
Babies are master cartographers. No corner that is valuable will be missed. Nothing that is useless today need be included. The maps of babies are not cluttered with regret or objectives.
Instead they are inked with the tiny details of small details such as the pull of muscle against saucepan, the tight clang of enamel bowls and the wind under canvas. They both want the broom. They record the hands of each other, sticky on the broom handle. They blink at light through mesh.
Abruptly there is a new sound, it is footsteps on gravel and the pace and weight of this noise has been recorded before. This information has a high yield. It is Pa, passing by with fishing rods and both infants become still, noting the intrusion, mouths remain open and then he is gone. They taste the retreat, process the loss and Max allows a short scream of rage. Noah maps Max’s scream of rage.
Then they press faces against the mesh windows again, snuffle at sunlight and heat, sand and dry grass, three seagulls and the sea in the distance and somebody filling a bucket with water. A plastic cup is breezed off the table. They stare at the cup rolling on the ground.
Suddenly there is no more information they can contain, the maps are full. They reject every new voice and ward off every new idea. They hurl strawberries to the ground and tie their distress to their parents with loud and elaborate knots. For the next few hours they can only be towed.