Beldin's Box




LOCATION:  Variable

CHALLENGE:  Variable

DATE/NUMBER:  14-May-2002/44


You go through changes, it may seem strange
Is this what you're put here for? - Love

Those of you who have read David Eddings may remember Beldin. Those of you who remember Beldin may remember his pants. As a refresher for the rest of us, Beldin wore the same pair of pants every day of his entire life (which I think spanned some 2000 years). When they wore thin, he would patch them. When patches wore thin, he would patch the patches, and so on. Pretty quickly, no fabric remained from when they were new. So, did he wear the same pair of pants all his life?

This philosophical question may or may not be interesting to everyone, but it seems like it could be a cool idea for a box. Boxes basically consist of stamps, clues, locations, and miscellaneous hardware. So, when you find this box, just like Beldin's pants, you can patch it. You can move it. You can change the clues. You can change the stamp. You can change the clues and location. You can move it to a different planet. You can even change the ziploc or tupperware if you want, but that seems less fun. You can change the style (morph it into a hitchhiker, or morph it back to a static box). Whatever. Just observer the following simple rules.

You just can't change everything. Beldin never changed his pants. You can't change the stamp, location, and clues at the same time. (You can even change the location, but not the clues; tho possible, this might be a bit tricky). Secondly, if you move it, either the most recent clues must still work, or you must provide new clues to the box as well.

The stamp I provided, as usual, may be considered lame by some. So change this first. (What to do with the replaced stamps over the life of this thing is left as an exercise to the reader :-)). The clues start off in story format. Certainly not Raymond Carver, but I had to start somewhere. Perhaps a cool idea for a box would be clues where people keep adding onto the story. If you replace the clues, consider keeping them in the flow of the story. Tho not required, it may be cool to see where it leads ... Only the last clue will be clues to the box, but an archive may be kept of the story.

Now, this will be a challenge for some webmaster. Probably me, at least initially, then hopefully, as clues change, they will be added to the LbNA site just like a new box. Just post any changed clues to the list so I can mark on master clue that it has moved. I'll figure it out later if people change the clues.


(Beldin's adventure, at least the part we know about, began in French Creek State Park, Berks County, PA.)


Beldin the wizard rolled out from under a log and looked around. "Where am I?!! On an island at the edge of Hopewell Lake?! No matter, time to wander off to that fabled place called Elsewhere."

Beldin grabbed his box from under a rock. "I'll bet people are still looking for this, aren't they?", he mused. "I wonder what's in it?"

He looked at the island to the south. "My, that looks like a much more pleasant place to be, doesn't it?"

Over and under, son and daughter
Now my feet glide on the water

"Good thing I still remember some spells", he thought, as he walked over to the other island and stood on the western tip. "Now what? This isn't any better, is it?"

"The beach!". Beldin spied a beach at 225 degrees. It wasn't much of a beach, but it least it wasn't an island.

Times of war, times of peace
Would that I fly as these geese

As he alighted on the south end of the beach, he seemed confused. "Something's not quite as it seems, is it? Lets have a look around." He walked 30 paces or so along the lake to the end of a small peninsula. He stood at waters' edge between two trees and admired the view. "Shame they built that ugly pier, isn't it? I certainly don't remember that being here when I first came to the lake, however many years ago that was ..."

He gazed across the lake and spotted another beach at 60 degrees. "I am lost, aren't I? Way over there is where I need to be", he thought, as he gazed down at the ripples in the water.

Would that I had one more wish

"! Who am I kidding? I'm too old and lazy for this nonsense. Look how far that is! And that water looks a mite chilly, doesn't it? ..."

Usually I am a better sport
But now's the time to teleport

"Now that's much better, isn't it?". He walked across the grass to the northeasterly trail. He followed the trail for a ways, until it seemed to disappear into a rocky, wet area. "Yuck. This won't do, will it?. Besides, I'm tired, I think I'll rest for a while and worry about my mission and the rest of my adventure some other century."

Beldin walked back about 20 paces to where he remembered seeing an old stump back in the woods to the left. From the stump, he followed a downed tree another 20 paces or so further back into the woods to an old twin tree.

"This looks older than I do, doesn't it.", he mused. "Oh my!", he gasped as he settled in. "How does one ever imagine getting out of here?"


The clue was amended to add the following on May 29th, 2002

This spot is too dark and covered, I'll fly to the triplet tree 20 paces on and land where it is high and light.


The clue was amended to add the following on August 27th, 2002

Beldin woke up from a squirrel dropping nut shells down from above. "Seems the little guy doesn't want me in his tree, but I'm to sleepy to journey today" With that in mind he cast a spell:

Dark and covered, now high and light
I'll split in two, and find a spot thats right

Beldin covered his head and went back to sleep while his other half set out to find a new spot to rest.

Back to the stump and continue the trail, Beldin found a tree growing and pointing at 60 degrees. "Odd way for a tree to grow" he thought. From the base of the tree he noticed at 340 degrees a twin tree he walked to see what he could see(50 paces or so) "Nowhere to rest here" he thought as he looked around, then alas 10 more paces at 220 degrees Beldins twin noticed a place to go an lay down.


The clue was amended to add the following on September 13th, 2002

Beldins twin drifted into a dreamy sleep. He drempt an old grumpy gnome walking along the lake and into the woods towards where he slept. The gnome looked down upon him and uttered ...

How dare you enter my private home
May your flesh and blood be turned into stone

"Oh my!", gasped Beldin. "This is much more than a dream, isn't it". Good thing for me, I don't really need my flesh and blood all that much. my better half has plenty to spare. I'll just make do as a spirit for a while.

His spirit drifted up and floated by the confused and even more grumpy gnome. He noticed a cuckoo bird with something in its beak perched on a old rotted log about 30 paces away, slightly west of north.

"A kindred spirit", he thought, as he merged his spirit with the bird, and lay down there to get some much needed sleep.


The clue was amended to add the following on September 22nd, 2002

Beldin I awoke with a start. Confused, he shook his head as if to loosen the cobwebs. "I feel so strange. As though I'm not quite myself", he thought. Then he remembered the spell he had cast to split his self in two. "That is never a good idea, he scolded himself. You'd think I'd learn from past experience. Ah, well. The deed is done. Now where did that other half get to? We can't have two of me walking around here. I might confuse the wild life." And so he set out to find his other half. Backtracking to the trail, he headed back to the beach to which he had teleported. Once at the beach he took the dirt trail north west of the beach. This trail merges with a gravel trail with green and gold blazes. Beldin followed the trail in a south-south westerly direction to where it forked with a dirt trail. Follow the dirt trail back to the bridges of three. 20 paces past the third bridge, then look to the right. Find the tree of three. "Perhaps my other half has taken all the sense with him, because I am no closer to finding my other half than when I was sleeping. I will rest here and ponder on where he may be."


The clue was amended to add the following on March 26th, 2003

Beldin rested in the tree of three for awhile, hoping his other half would eventually wander by. After some time, he fell into a deep sleep after which he gradually awoke to the sound of whispering on his right. Cracking open one eye ever so slightly, he saw another wizard and 2 companions standing there watching him. They had passed his resting spot, and noticed him lying there sleeping. After some discussion, they finally agreed that waking a sleeping wizard would be risky indeed. They decided that the wizard, who would refer to himself only as "P.J.M.", would wait nearby for Beldin to awake while the two companions continued on their own adventure. Beldin, who was pretending he was asleep, fell back asleep for real. When he awoke again, "P.J.M" was no where to be seen. "Oh my", thought Beldin, "My dreams are getting stranger all the time. Well, it's probably time to start looking for that twin of mine again."

He continued along the trail, crossing the first of the bridges of two. At the center of the second bridge, he saw an image of what he thought might be his twin up ahead at 328 degrees, standing atop a big big rock. Beldin walked through the trees to the BBR, but once he arrived, his twin was nowhere to be found. "Maybe I'm imagining these things", he thought. He climbed onto the rock, and gazed around to see what he can see. He spied a circle at 295 degrees, and a pitched pine at 5 degrees, but no sign of his twin. "Yes, I was definitely imagining things again. Maybe its time for another nap".


The clue was amended to add the following on January 3rd, 2004

Beldin stirred from his dream and sat upright. He then awoke from that dream and sat bolt upright. After which he shook himself into consciousness once more…and simply refused to sit upright again.

"Waking and dreaming seem to have merged into a single phenomenon of late," reflected Beldin; "so much so that I may have slept unawares for several months. Perhaps it is time to explore new realms."

Shaking the desire to contemplate further if he indeed was awake, Beldin set off down the trail. He made absolutely no notes of reference either to bridge, birch or brook. If he was simply dreaming again, what good would it do to count paces or estimate random bearings?

"Well, my pants look no worse for the wear, but my awareness is due to be patched with a new outlook on existence," Beldin declared. "I will travel in abstract leaps for a time."

Beldin approached a rock wall along the trail. With particular attention to being random, he hopped over the wall, slalomed around several cubby-holed trees and then initiated an arbitrary teleport losing himself, well, quite entirely.

"Hmm, that's strange: I have the sudden desire to eat oatmeal and to knit in eastern Pennsylvania."

Directly downhill from that desire, Beldin contemplated crossing a stream upon a log. Unfortunately he tripped on his own ingenuity and found his foot had gotten stuck beneath the adjacent boulder.

"Forget it! I'm not resting this time; I'll just wait for someone to happen by and give me an assist."


The clue was amended to add the following on October 15th, 2004

Beldin awoke with a start. Beldin stirred from his dream and sat upright. Beldin rolled out from under a rock and looked around. Beldin...


That was his name. He certainly knew that. Why wouldn't he know his name? It was his own name.

But what was this place? How did he come to be here? He grimaced at the effort required to muster these few questions, and his voice sailed unanswered into the valley below.

So I'm definitely Bourne.
I'm also definitely Kane.

Fire, synapses, fire! Wiggle your big toe.
Wiggle your big toe

He looked again at his surroundings. A rock. A tree, then another. A stream. A hill behind him. A colorless landscape in dusk's long shadows.

Why this place?

Why here? Why now?

Beldin remembered this: In that twilight state between sleep and awake, the mind makes its own reality. And then dreams can become real. Or is that reality can become a dream?

Confused. Awake. Dreaming. Dead, possibly. Beldin bounced from option to option, but the rules of logic seemed no longer to apply. Each was possible, each was equally and completely implausible.

If you know the number of the person you'd like to reach,
press pound now.

Such is the case with ontological breakdowns, he mused. Being and not being there. As Lao- Tzu said, "All things are born of being; being is born of non-being."

It's just, it's just, it's just,
Just like being there.

Beldin wondered why quantum mechanics and words of great philosophers came so easily, while explanations for his immediate predicament were non-existent.

Speak, memory!

Beldin sensed that the key to curing his complete neural cataclysm was waiting to be unlocked in his own memory. In dreams begin responsibilities. In memories begin understanding. Beldin needed to think. Think and remember.

Ah, the key at last came to him in a white hot flash -- Beldin would teleport back to some place in memory, return to a familiar place, and then all would become clear.

That's it, that's all. But what was the first thing he remembered, or the last thing? Or had all his memories been erased, wiped clean, overwritten with bits?

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use,
which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

The beach! Beldin remembered a beach, the beach, the beach near the islands. This miserable state of suspended existence was more than he could tolerate, and if he could only return to the beach, as faded and distant as it was in his memory...

Beldin faltered, considering the alternatives. Then, with resolve, he closed his eyes and spoke in a firm voice:

Whenever you find yourself in doubt
Return to where you started out.

The wizard slowly opened his eyes, and took in his new surroundings. A wooden sign read "NOSE WINNING" in faded letters, which, although it made no sense to Beldin, he did not question. Any absurdities in his world were most likely due to the breakdown in his perceptual faculties.

There, the grass, and the trail heading northeast – these seemed at once familiar and strange. Beldin was drawn up the trail, and he gave no fight to the allure. He followed the trail for a ways as greens and yellows swirled just at the edges of his vision, until he suddenly stopped, startled by a sudden division. The road on which he was traveling turned in one direction, but the path that he was following turned in another. This again seemed both familiar and strange. Beldin, following instinct, choose the path.

Beldin felt tired. "I think I'll rest for a while and worry about my mission and the rest of my adventure some other century." Those words came automatically, and Beldin was taken aback by the ease with which the words flowed.

He trudged ahead. There, on the left, was a familiar old stump in the woods. It had grown, hadn't it? Or was it always ten feet tall? How could it be familiar when it was so foreign? This mighty fallen tree on the ground, too, with its twin limbs – was it truly familiar, or was it just that he wanted to see objects and places that were known to him? Was he merely fabricating memories out of gossamer-thin thoughts?

Beldin made his way to the bare stump, and saw the way he was meant to follow. A log on the ground pointed to the safety of the rocks. His energy was fading fast. "This looks older than I do, doesn't it?" he mused. "Oh my!" he gasped as he settled in. "How does one ever imagine getting out of here?"


The clue was amended to add the following on Feb 22nd, 2005

Beldin awoke with a start as he experienced yet another interruption of his rest.

Why must I keep getting disturbed by these treasure seekers? Being a great wizard is difficult enough as it is. This place is too far South and too close to major populations! I need to fly and fly North!

So fly he did, in the form of the blue banded hawk. North he flew, past the town where folks sing 867-5309 and other silly songs in search of treasure.

He flew to a place that could be considered semi-eponymous by some. When he arrived he found that he could only read part of a sign

But he felt that this would lead to the best place to hide. As before, he followed swirling yellow at his periphery and then when forced to make a decision felt that green would be better to follow. Down he went to a place where there was the remnant of a less efficient mode of transport. Further he flew until he spotted an unusual tree across a small waterway.

That tree would be perfect for a hanging, perhaps that scare away these persistent treasure seekers!

From the spot across from this hanging tree, he nestled in at 140 degrees and 16 paces underneath a nice safe stone beside a stout twin tree. Surely I shall not be disturbed here, he thought as he dozed off.


The clue was amended to add the following on June 10th, 2005

Beldin was lazily dreaming about his new location. There was no sleep for the weary wizard.

That incessant song keeps ringing in my ears. "I crave rest! Do these silly treasure seekers not realize my ultimate plan? Sleep, rest, rejuvenation. Let me be." Beldin awoke with a start.

The swirling green led Beldin farther downstream. On the left, he spied an elbow shaped tree, high off the ground. "Too much like that hanging tree," he thought. He drifted farther along, to a place where the trail is interrupted by a severed tree on both sides of the path. Standing between these detached limbs, he spied another "V" tree at 140 degrees. "There, there, high up on the hill, buried in that V- tree under a rock, I will hide and sleep, perchance to dream."

In the place between sleep and life, Beldin wandered. His mind recalled his journey thus far. How interesting and joyous he was for his new voyage. "Another patch for these pants," he thought. Charles Caleb Colton said, "Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away." For my treasure seekers a new journal to keep them content and now sleep.


The clue was amended to add the following on November 6, 2005

"You are somewhat like us," Beldin was shaken out of his introspection by the caged Buteo Lineatus, "You have been through trauma and need to heal."

He had been thinking of how he found his way to these warm blooded cousins. Being the time of year when many of his kind felt the need to move on, he took flight. The fact that he was recovering from his make-over weakened had him to the influences of the proselytizers. Thus befuddled, he started in a direction which was not a normal migratory path. As he tipped his wing to his snoring corporeal self (did he have to sleep with his mouth open like that?) he flew West for 124 miles. The north wind blew him just a bit off of his course and he took notice of a Valley of Stone beneath him. He descended to the Raptor Center he saw by a lake.

"Yes, heal.. But how?" Beldin asked Buteo Lineatus.

She stopped her preening and sharply advised, "Yours is more a trauma of the soul. You split from your brother and need to heal your spirit to decide which path is for you; return, reconcile, and rejoin or explore your freedom further."

She persisted as Beldin blinked and stared at her, "Proceed west from here, fly over the Troll Bridge then keep the meadow named for our kind to your right. You will find a suitable place to roost nearby"

After thanking her, Beldin followed the wisdom of his cousin. He started to descend as a #15 on a diamond the color of his cousin's shoulders was tacked to one side of a tree. He then glided 293° to cross the trail with the markings the color of his tail and passed over the "J" post . He proceeded in the same direction to the large split pine tree.

"Yes," he though as he perched 5' up under some rocks, "This is a perfect place to reflect on my circumstances. Half of this tree lives as the other half sleeps on the ground."


The clue was amended to add the following on March 28, 2006

As winter turned to spring, Beldin shook the last snow from his shoulders, resumed his human form and brushed the worst of the clinging dirt from his well-worn but exceedingly comfortable pants. "Four months is long enough to stay in a single place, even one as pretty as this. I feel the need for some social interaction". He yawned, stretched and hiked his way out to the nearest highway to garner a ride...

In several thousand years of life, one learns quickly how to hitch a ride, and not long after Beldin was moving east and north, ending up near the mighty Mousam. "Over 500 miles in a single day -- pretty good time for a tough old bird", he thought to himself. "I think I'll take the time to enjoy myself and see the country by hitching rides for a while. It's been a long while since I visited the great north woods, and who better for company than a garrulous old irish crow..."


The clue was amended to add the following on October 26, 2006

Beldin's sleep was quite fitful. He was awoken time and again by people thinking he was someone he wasn't. They searched his pockets for trinkets and sundry items, but found none. They all seemed friendly, though, and he assumed the one they sought was nearby.

Beldin sighed. He sat up, scratched his chin, and wished for a good cup of coffee. He wished his nearby friend (who seemed to be named "George Cash" or something like that) farewell, and set off for the south.

Along the way, he paused to pay tribute to a lost friend.

He thought about new friends and old. He pondered his long life, and wondered if his wandering were merely squandering. He found a barren pine forest to sit in and think. "What is life? A journey to travel? A mystery to unravel? A puzzle to unlock? Just a turn of a clock?"

He sat. Alone.

Alone. For too long.

A leaf rustled. The sand shifted. "Life is nothing alone." The voice came from the very woods. Or from his mind. Or from his memory. He couldn't tell...that was the problem. He needed to be with people. Whatever life was, he'd never find out alone.

He walked through a sort of wooded clearing (whatever that is), and heard voices. He soon found a gaggle of folks laughing and eating and frolicing around a pond. He quietly approached, and found himself welcome. A smile came to his face. Indeed, friendship was a salve. He found a fellow traveler, a kindred spirit, and walked with her a while.


The clue was amended to add the following on January 10, 2009. It has been suggested that it was lost in the e-mail ether between then and the last update. It has also been suggested that "he is indoors somewhere at the moment".

While wandering in the woods, Beldin encountered a witch. She was not particularly impressed with the wizard (perhaps it had something to do with his attire, which was badly in need of repair). She told him that she was the only one permitted there, and demanded that he leave immediately. Otherwise, she said, "a great doom" would befall him.

Understandably, being ordered around like this did not sit well with Beldin. Surely a wizard should be able to walk where he liked. And although he turned as directed to follow the nearby flowing stream, it was not long before he came to a sinister path, and decided to see what lay beyond....

Beldin followed the path until he came within sight of a wall. He sat down on a white rock to catch his breath from the climb, then continued along the trail. The rays of the setting sun steamed past him. He noticed it seemed harder and harder to move, to continue putting one foot in front of the other....perhaps a great doom was befalling him indeed. Best if he chose a safe place to rest. He noticed a clump of beech trees--behind them, between them and the wall...that would do until his friends came looking for him.


The clue was amended to add the following on August 31, 2012.

Beldin finally escaped the mansion, where he had been, sick, for a long time. He ran down the back steps and to the right, to the swimming pool, now neglected. Beldin sat on the bench dedicated to his friend, Corey, and looked to the left at a gate cut from a tree. He went to it, walked a short distance uphill, and sat under the tree.


Links or clue changes may go here. Please send changes to the clue to the LbNA talk list; that is the best way to make sure others see them; and you must send them directly to me if you wish the clue updated; it is unlikely that it will be otherwise.

NOTE 1:  Off-trail walking may be involved.

NOTE 2:  Be wary of snakes and other wildlife when reaching into dark places. No need to dig for this box. All bearings magnetic unless otherwise noted. A pace is a long stride counted on a footfall of either foot, i.e. two paces are counted each time the right foot hits the ground. Be aware of if or when there is game hunting in the area.

NOTE 3:  Please re-hide the thing well just as you found it

DISCLAIMER & COPYRIGHT:  PERSONS USING THIS CLUE OR HUNTING THIS LETTERBOX DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. Do not hunt this letterbox without reading and agreeing to the waiver first. Children, do not hunt this letterbox without the supervision of an adult who has read and agreed to the waiver. Possession of this clue does not imply rights of access to particular lands and route choices, or the safety thereof, including the location of the box itself. Always observe current local regulations, signs, property rights, and customs; you are responsible for your actions. Clue not indended to be taken literally or to suggest route choices; route choices (and the choice to proceed at all), are your choice.
This clue and associated stamp art are copyright © 2002, by Randy Hall. Permission to reproduce for personal use granted; all other rights reserved.