Mailbox Totem

One advantage of repeatedly driving along a road is that attention to detail accrues incrementally. I’ll notice something one day, but my mind will be on something else, perhaps an NPR radio program. The next time I see the object or scene a new layer of attention will be overlaid upon the first. Eventually I’ll just have to stop and investigate. The threshold of active curiosity has been breached.

Here’s an example. The first time I saw the mailbox pole shown below I briefly thought, “What the hell is that? Some sort of totem pole, or what?”. Subsequent observations became more detailed — I saw that it wasn’t really a totem pole, but somehow manages to suggest one. There were no totems, no caricatured animal or human figures or faces.

Monday morning I stopped to look more closely. What an idiosyncratic oddity of a mailbox post! Wind-chimes dangled from an arching support at the back, the top had a crossbar with glass insulators, suggesting a telephone pole, and a mysterious sack was affixed to the front. It was almost as if the pole’s function as a support for mailboxes was an afterthought. My open car door can be seen at the far right:

The top of the pole, complete with a weather-vane:

The mysterious green sack, which has several slits with what looks like straw protruding from them. An aid to nesting birds, a source for nest material? Notice the old iron wheel-rim supporting the sack:

Some day I’ll see someone outside at this rural house and I’ll make inquiries!




Filed under Photos, Quincy

6 responses to “Mailbox Totem

  1. bev

    Is there some earth in the green sack? I think I have seen its like – or something similar – used for growing annual flowers or strawberries. Maybe they are all gone now, or weren’t planted this year. In any case, it certainly is an all-purpose pole!

  2. There didn’t seem to be any earth in the sack, just straw or hay. I’ve seen pansies and strawberries growing in similar containers, and I’m also reminded of those “Topsy-Turvy” tomato-growing sacks, the ones which have the tomato growing from a hole in the bottom.

    I’m surprised that there wasn’t a birdhouse attached to the pole!

  3. Sarah

    It’s a strawberry planter bag.

  4. Joan

    Cool! Larry, you can just water the strawberries on your rounds during growing season. (snerk!)
    But seriously. This just falls in the realm of quirky folk art.. Well, maybe lacking quite a bit of the arty and more of the folks.
    Just LOOK at all the stuff on there! Parts of an old telephone pole, weather vane, big reflextive address. A reflective bike thingy. A wind chime hanging from what looks like a farm implement. A rusty wheel and strawberries. I’d really like to meet the person that dreamed this up. Maybe you are supposed to hit those wind chimes so they know their paper is there. 🙂

  5. I think I’d have to plant the strawberries myself, Joan! It would be a nice break, though, watering the bag of plants every day. I wonder if the people who live there would leave me any berries? It would be quite a temptation for them to eat all of the ripe berries while getting the mail and the paper.

    Perhaps these unseen folks would let me start a small garden plot by the road? I would get a kick out of doing some weeding in the middle of the route.

  6. Joan

    Well, it looks like they already harvested their strawberries. I doubt you are serious at all but a garden plot by the road would be an open invite for people on the road to just help themselves. As for weeding as a recreational sport? That one is new to me. While my mind might take to that, my back would have other feelings about it. 🙂

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