The Story Behind the Stories
Schrodinger's Grottoes by Andrew Gudgel
This piece began, as you might expect, with a pot. Earlier this year, I stumbled across Craig
Childs's "The Seed Jar" on the Radiolab podcast and was fascinated by the story--man finds pre-Columbian pot under a boulder in a canyon in the desert, man leaves pot untouched, man returns
eleven years later to discover part of the canyon wall has collapsed, burying the pot forever. It got
me thinking about all the objects and archaeological treasures sitting undiscovered somewhere.
This led me, in turn, to Schrodinger's Cat and the idea of something both existing and not existing
at the same time. Did the objects in Tutankhamen's tomb sit waiting in darkness for millennia, or
did they in essence only come into being in 1922, when the tomb was discovered and opened?
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The muse went off to chew on these thoughts for a very long time before coming back. Like any
story, this one changed as it was written and rewritten. The part that remained the same among
drafts, however, was the one thing the muse insisted on: there had to be a pot.