SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
Last night at about 3 am, I had a new thought for my current, in-process solve. And in thinking it through, it’s sufficiently general enough to share – it doesn’t apply to just my solve, but to a number of different end of the poem possibilities. So here we are.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze
The two schools of thought related to this line and the blaze generally seem to be as follows:
1 – “If you’ve been wise” refers to an owl and viewing the blaze from above, most often via Google Earth, but also potentially from an elevated vantage point. I’d also add GE/map “wise” based place names (Owl Creek or whatever) to this school.
2 – You need BOTG to find the blaze and “If you’ve been wise” refers to you having solved the clues leading up to this point where you are looking for the blaze. You may be keeping an eye out for owl-shaped rocks, but you are reliant on BOTG prior to this line starting.
I’d generally put myself in School 1 as I think having an explanation for “if you’ve been wise” is an important part to being able to go with confidence to your search area. I’ve also been of the opinion that the School 2 people are taking this part of the line for granted. If you’re just going to find the blaze when you’re BOTG, why do you need to have been wise?
But it occurred to me that maybe there’s a third interpretation. Most people tend to think of “if you’ve been wise and found the blaze” as one clue. What if it’s two clues?
Under my new way of thinking, you still have to find the blaze with BOTG, but “if you’ve been wise” is a separate clue with an interpretation unrelated to the blaze itself. Enter: King Solomon.
Whether a person is religious or not, I think the “Wisdom of Solomon” is a commonly known phrase/saying.
Per Wikipedia (which matched my own limited knowledge on the subject):
Perhaps the best known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon; two women each lay claim to being the mother of the same child. Solomon easily resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half and shared between the two. One woman promptly renounced her claim, proving that she would rather give up the child than see it killed. Solomon declared the woman who showed compassion to be the true mother, entitled to the whole child. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon#Wisdom)
Okay… but how does this relate to finding the treasure?
Picture the following scenario, one which I expect is fairly common among searchers (either armchair or BOTG). You’ve solved the clues and you’re hiking up alongside your creek with heavy loads and water high up ahead (or maybe you’ve passed them already). Maybe you’re on a trail or maybe you’re already off the trail. You’re looking for a blaze, but at this point, you’re basically flying blind outside of that. Simplified, maybe it looks something like this:
You think you’re looking for the blaze, but maybe you first need to be looking for something else; something that splits from your creek. Maybe it’s another creek. Maybe it’s a side-trail (if you’re on a trail). But we aren’t taking that side-trail/creek because what would be “wise” about that? We need to split the creeks in two:
And then we find the blaze, find the treasure, pop some champagne, revel in our brilliant solve, and go about arranging to give FF his bracelet and buying a new car. Easy game.
Obviously, I have no idea if this interpretation is correct, but it’s something I haven’t seen before and it doesn’t materially impact my 2nd solve (because you have to figure out the rest of the poem first) so I figured it may be something that could benefit someone else. Do with it as you will – I’m going to bed.