I have lost my marbles. Literally. Dozens of times, all over town and across several states. Even as far away as Ireland and Morocco! I have lost, and found, marbles over and over again.
Why does this keep happening to me? I’m in “The Worlds Biggest Marble Hunt,” and it’s loads of fun. “The Worlds Biggest Marble Hunt” is a Facebook group established in 2016, as a world wide scavenger hunt with no end date. It was created by marble artists, to promote the industry, and encourage adventurers at the same time. There are a few basic rules, as stated in the “about” tab on the Facebook page. Anyone is welcome to join. The membership has grown from a few thousand at its inception, to currently over 30,000.
Once a marble has been hidden, it is posted as “lost.” A hunter watches for a post, then hurries to find it before some else does. Once it is discovered, the hider posts it as “found,”, then that hunt is over. I live near a town of about fifteen active players, and we have hunts going on for much of the year time.
Ah, the thrill of the hunt. When I see that a marble has been hidden near me, I feel an instant flash of excitement, knowing that a shiny, tiny piece of art may soon be mine. If I recognize the hiding place, I race off to nab the prize before someone beats me to it. I can feel my senses heighten as I zero in, hopefully soon followed by the triumphant shout, “Found it!”. When the hunt is unsuccessful I may be disappointed or frustrated, but the failure makes me determined to win the next one.
While in hot pursuit, I have sometimes encountered fellow hunters; when that happens we either join forces or one bows out. Either way, It’s a special treat to meet members of the marble family in person. Involving children in the search makes it even better because getting to see their faces light up when they find the prize is irreplaceable.
Often I have no idea where the place in the photo is, even if it is in my hometown. Engaging my inner sleuth, I utilize my resources to unlock the clues. Sometimes my investigative skills are lacking, like the time I didn’t recognize a building that I drive by every day on my way to and from work. Or the time I spent almost an hour combing through trees at the rest stop, only to learn I was on the wrong interstate!
The best part of marble hunting and hiding, is exploring new places. I have walked a labyrinth to find an egg shaped marble on Easter. I have explored an arboretum- that outing eventually led me to becoming a member there. Marble hunting has taken me into neighborhoods, along paths and onto hiking trails that I never knew existed, some just minutes from home. Seriously, how did I miss that there was gorgeous park just blocks from my house? I know, I need to get out more.
Being the hider can be more fun than being the hunter. I always have a marble in my car, in case I see the perfect hiding place. Keeping an eye out for a good spot, and thinking of clever clues is challenging. I was proud of the time I hid two, one at each foot of a bridge, then made clues about the two cities that the bridge connects. I am always on the look-out for unique locations. Hiding it in such a way that it doesn’t get found by a passerby is key (this is called getting “muggled”). I make the clues tougher and the hiding spot more obscure if the marble is especially pretty or unusual.
Clues are as varied as the thousands members. Some clues are stealthy and require research or decoding skills to find the hidden gem. Others are easy, geared towards kids. I have seen where the hider takes the hunters on a scavenger hunt, and only releases the next clue when they post proof that they have found each step. And some as simple as giving the name of the park, and where the marble is placed.
Hunting and hiding can make for a great family outing, but there is a downside. My four year old Grandson now thinks that there are marbles just laying around everywhere; as if they have been magically sprinkled all across the world, and that all we have to do is go get them. I tried explaining it to him, but he said, “No Grandma, you just aren’t looking good enough.” It is a proven fact that four year olds know everything.
Some people re-hide the ones they have found. Not me, I never “lose” a marble that I discovered. Those are my wonder spheres, my circular badges of victory. I have found ten so far, and I wouldn’t part with any of them. My greatest find was last year on National Marble Day (which is on July 21st this year) I found a darling dinosaur clay stand, sculpted by a local member. On that stand was a gloriously sparkly marble, hand blown by a well known artist. I smile every time I look at it and marvel in the vibrant bursts of internal fireworks. I could never part with the first marble I found, the one that had me scouring the drive thru lane at Dairy Queen, while it was open. Talk about funny looks! Nope, I have to keep every one of my trophies.
There are places to online to buy hiders such as Etsy and Black Market Marbles. The best place being a local glass shop.
I lost a marble in Fes, Morocco a year ago. It is safely in a drawer at the wonderful place we stayed. The anticipation of someone claiming it thrills me. I will probably be more excited then the finder is, when they post that it has been found. The one left in Ireland was found by a traveler within weeks. The enthusiasm for these far flung hunts is contagious.
Have you ever felt that you were losing your marbles? If so, come play with us, you’ll fit right in!
picture is of my trophy collection