I finally found the curio cabinet I had always wanted, in a local consignment shop, not very old but not all that new either. For a while, someone else had kept their tiny things in it. Some of us, I guess, are compelled to pick up tiny things, and keep them, and save them from the way every day life would treat them otherwise.
This one had a key, but the key was lost, like so many keys are. If someone found it, they would never find the lock it opens, and it would have to join that giant ocean of lock-less keys.
I know that finding things and taking them with us is not entirely a human thing; birds do this, dogs do this, our cat Oliver runs off with things because he thinks he can get something out of them, even when they're inedible. But it's particular to people to keep them for little reason other than we want to. If a hornet is going to build a nest so intricate and amazing, and a piece of it drops onto the doormat, I'm going to want to look at it for a little while.
Same for barnacle covered shells from Sanibel.
and rutilated quartz,
and other things, (fake leaves, tiny harmonicas, doll's eyes, frozen Charlottes, empty watch cases), that might get lost in a box in a closet, or, in a moment of carelessness, swept away forever.