SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2016
This brief account follows on from my previous search, as told in “The Anomaly,” which Dal kindly published on this site. That article told of the discovery of a single stone at a key set of coordinates gleaned from the poem.
I’m sure that there will be many who will be extremely sceptical about what follows, but I know what led me to the spot described, and I truly believe it explains the phrase “I’ve done it tired,” and sheds much more light on “tarry scant.”
After the discovery of the flat, marbled rock on the marsh-bound log just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist the temptation to throw more of our dwindling retirement pot at one more search. I had a glimmer of understanding of why the trove was not to be found in that particular fen, and I believed I now knew where it pointed. The broken corner was one clue, and a rereading of the poem provided another.
Early in the morning, after flying in from Britain, I was hard at it, fighting my way into more squelchy mires, and getting nowhere. As before, I wasted three-quarters of my very limited time going back repeatedly to the same spots. I really should learn that if it’s not there, it’s really NOT THERE!
It was only toward the end of my allotted week that I was able to see that I’d missed yet another layer in this bottomless pit of a poem. It was a real revelation for me and I was excited. I stared at the poem and marveled at the way the pieces interlocked in such ingenious ways. I am no longer at all surprised that it took 15 years to perfect. The rainbow’s end was not far away!
Armed with new information, I was able to narrow my region down to a very localized area. And yet I found nothing, despite long hours and much GPS work. I returned to the motel quite despondent. I was due to fly out in the morning. My wife who, by this time, was threatening to lock up both my shoes and credit cards, was not going to be at all pleased!
It was 2 a.m. when I awoke with a start. What had I walked right past the day before?
I am so used to urban living and seeing the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life that I’d not paid attention to something that should not have been where it was. I had had to sidestep a chunk of heavy-duty tire, which some dog-like animal had seemingly defecated on. Why was it out there? There was no other debris around, and it lay a reasonable distance from the access road, and not somewhere you could take a vehicle without considerable difficulty. There didn’t appear to be much of it visible, and it didn’t look rough on the outer edge – as you’d expect from a shredded tire – but it was quite worn.
And what about the poop? In the early hours of the morning, I allowed myself to speculate that it was some kind of humorous sculpture, deterring curious passers-by from looking underneath, and it was the only place I had seen anything like dog excrement in that place dominated by hoof. It would also decrease the likelihood that anyone would pick it up and take it away. I emailed Forrest about finding his “Damien Hirst” sculpture!
When I arrived near the location, it was just before the first glimmer of light was due to wash across the sky. I needed to get this done and drive to the airport. It was bitterly cold, too. I waited until I could just make out the trees, and then headed into the scrub. You can watch the grainy video here:
Fortunately, due to knowing the coordinates, it was pretty easy to find, even in the semi-dark. My flashlight kept threatening to quit on me, though, and I’ll admit it felt a tad spooky! When I found the tire, I prodded with my cane, but couldn’t determine if the poop was real or not without closer examination. If it hadn’t been so cold, it would have been much easier to tell. I tried to flick the segment over with the ferrule on my cane, but it was heavy – very much so for it’s size. I couldn’t hazard a guess the type of vehicle it had originally adorned – others may be able to help. But it was weighty enough that if you dropped it somewhere it would stay put, no matter what gales and storms might howl around it.
On closer inspection I could see that this was certainly no road-ripped shred, but a carefully edged piece (look at the section nearest the camera), perhaps designed to look like the top of a partially buried tire, as my wife later suggested. I knelt down and raised it up. It probably weighed between five and ten pounds. There was no cavity underneath – and I checked by prodding with my cane. I was disappointed – nothing. I scanned all around in a widening circle. Still nothing.
I carried the incongruous item out of there, not wishing to leave such a monument to everyday human activity where it didn’t seem to belong. As to its Chase credentials, I’m convinced but you must make up your own mind.
Sitting in the airport lounge, and rechecking the poem, in a fateful replay of September’s revelatory moment, I realized what spot it was marking, and where the master trickster has more than likely hidden his cache – the third “I”. In fact I’d walked within twenty feet of it, my gaze directed to a different spot! But there’s no going back for me. I have expended not only way too much money, but too much goodwill at home. Any future search will have to be done by proxy. And sadly, I will never have that joy of opening the lid for the first time.