Buried Treasure

A couple of weeks ago — actually a couple of months ago, now — I facilitated a writing class at The Commons at Central Hall here in Dover-Foxcroft. Part of that class included creating a continuing “story” members of the class could work on {that sounds familiar}. For the next few weeks I’ll chronicle three of the stories they came up with and wrap it up with how we blended them together. Despite the common beginning — which some tweaked — the stories veered off in different directions … proving we all have a story to tell.

I started them off with a paragraph and instructed them to add to it … give the story a direction … find the characters … place it on a timeline. I told them together, we would flesh out the story line, develop characters and possibly throw in some curves or red herrings.

They did great with the lead paragraph …

We were walking down the path, something we did every morning. The sun started its ascent spotlighting the morning mist rising off the river. The dew glistened in the meadow and the birds serenaded us with their morning song.

Suddenly …

That was it. Suddenly what? Who are “we”? Why were we walking? Were they holding hands or walking independently?

I told them to use their imagination! Let the scene unfold in your mind and translate through your fingers. Have fun!

They had imagination! They painted mind pictures with their fingers. They had fun.

Here is the first from Gloria Powell

Buried Treasure

By Gloria Powell

We were walking down the path, something we did every morning, Molly and I. My silent companion, a Labrador-Irish setter mix.  Occasionally Kerri, my wife, and Peter, my 10 year old, would accompany us but most mornings they chose to sleep in or had to be up for job and school. Luckily my schedule started a little later.

The sun started its ascent spotlighting the morning mist rising off the river. The dew glistened in the meadow and the birds serenaded us with their morning song.

Suddenly the sound of metal digging in earth reached both our ears. At once Molly’s floppy ears stood up. I found cover behind an outlying group of bushes pushing Molly to the ground with the whispered command “stay.” As I glanced from my vantage point, a young girl, not more than 20 years of age, placed a small bundle wrapped in a light blue blanket gently into the freshly dug hole. Other than the steady sound of the dirt rhythmically falling by shovelfuls back to the earth filling the gap, her muffled weeping filled the air that had just moments earlier been filled with bird songs. She stopped briefly, leaned on the shovel breathlessly, and seemed to mutter a quiet prayer.  In the space of a few minutes she slipped the shovel under her arm and hurriedly walked down the well-worn path out of sight.

My imagination went wild as I contemplated what it was this young girl could have buried. An infant perhaps, not fully developed, perhaps miscarried, a favorite cat, or dog, or even a box of love letters abandoned after he broke her heart.

This land was a public park, the trails well maintained by volunteers who made sure fallen trees and debris were cleared frequently for the safety of those who enjoyed hiking in the wood. Fortunately my own property abutted this nature preserve, but I wondered, did she live nearby? Or had she driven here to complete this deed and parked her car in the nearby lot? It was too late to find out as she was well gone before Molly and I could emerge from our cover.

“Well Molly,” I said aloud, “we’ve become a part of a mystery I’m not sure I want to try to solve. In a way I want to respect that young woman’s privacy, something I’m sure I’d desire for myself if were me.”

James and Molly had been gone longer than usual for their daily morning hike.  Kerrie had woken up late and when she reached over to touch James the empty space indicated she’d overslept. She never set the alarm on weekends just for that reason, to get some extra well-needed sleep. She never had set an alarm until she’d married James as she disliked being so abruptly awoken. They both had to be up for work and he insisted on the alarm as he couldn’t wake up naturally as she had taught herself to do.  Peter was at a sleep over at his friend Ben’s and she would be picking him up shortly, as a matter of fact it was 9:30 and she was due there at 10. She’d dress, grab a quick cup of coffee and go.

Upon reaching the house, James made note of the missing car in the driveway, but then remembered Peter’s sleepover. Kerrie had volunteered to pick up Peter so that answered that question.  He and Molly were just entering the kitchen when he heard his son’s voice, “Hi Dad!”

“Hey kiddo,” he slapped his son on the back and said, “So how was the sleepover?”

“The usual, Peter replied, “Popcorn, a movie, and then we played video games until about 11 when we both hit the sack. We had fun, though.” Oh, mom went to get the mozzarella you need for tonight’s supper. She should be home soon.

Peter grabbed his overnight bag and headed up the stairs as he heard his mom enter the kitchen talking with his dad.

“Did you get in a good hike? You were gone longer than usual?” Kerrie inquired.

“Yes, but I saw something unusual, a young woman burying something wrapped in a blue blanket. She didn’t see us as we were behind some nearby bushes.”

“Really, what do you think it was?”

“I have no idea, but I think we should respect her privacy. It was probably a pet of some kind. It was a small bundle not more than a foot or so long. She was crying, seemed really sad.”

“If you think so, but it may be something we need to report to the police. What if it were a baby? What if there’s more to the story that could implicate the woman in foul play?”

“Let’s think about it,” cautioned James. “My gut feeling is that we should stay out of it respect the woman’s privacy. Hey, thanks for remembering the cheese. I can’t believe I forgot it. I even had the recipe with me!”

“Yes, no problem,” answered Kerri. “I wrote myself a note and left it on the counter. Luckily I spotted it before heading out to get Peter.

Meanwhile, as Peter was coming down the stairs, he overheard the conversation. Within minutes he was on the phone to his friend Ben. “Hi, Ben, listen, I just heard my parents talking about something my Dad saw this morning while hiking on the nature trail. I don’t want to say much now ‘cause I’m afraid they might hear me. How about if we meet at Griffin’s Store and bike over there. It might be buried treasure … I’m just saying. I’ll fill you in when we meet. I have the fold up shovel from Scout camp that I can bungee cable to my bike. See you at 11, o.k?

“Sure, sounds like an adventure!” Ben replied.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the disregard of it.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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