These are the Entries for the “My Favorite Story Contest”. This contest was held in the winter of 2017. To read more about the contest including the rules click HERE
Born Too Late….was a no brainer for me. This short glimpse into Forrest’s past propels me like a rocket into a Future with no doors. His fond memories of his father are captured and stowed away in that tiny little arrowhead for eternity. This little arrowhead opened the doors to a future, filled with an unquenchable thirst for discovery. In essence…Forrest’s whole being is molded from the act of an innocent child happening upon a lost or forgotten tool of survival. That tiny discovery…threw the doors wide open and sparked an imagination with no boundaries and a desire to unlock the hidden stories that often lay right in our path…just waiting to be seen.
As fate would have her way…this drive to open the doors to the past, would become a journey that tells the story of those who shaped the man…that refuses to succumb to the ordinary. The father’s poem later in life is a testament of approval and a challenge to never quit…sharing the untold story.
For me, the stories seem to contain a dark undertone with a feeling of absolute human triumph. Many describe overcoming seemingly impossible situations when the odds are stacked against you taller than the Rocky Mountains.…like defeating cancer. In my mind I erased all of Fenn’s accomplishments and decided that the one that best defined his true character is Rusty and Me. I can attest as well as many others that saving a dog in that condition is one of the most difficult but rewarding experiences a person can have. It takes someone with true compassion in their heart. Rusty triumphed over incredible odds and hit the jackpot of being Fenn’s dog. Humans do some unspeakable things to dogs, and each other. As the human may live with bitterness, resentment, and anger…..it is the dog that can move beyond their terrible past to be happy, trusting and ultimately bringing that joy of life to others. Bigbluecow is not only my screen name but the nickname of my rescue dog….. and I hate to admit that at times my dog is a better person than me.
“River Bathing is Best”
Looking down, I saw the still water,
covered with a film of algae, dirt and leaves,
and the fish that was swimming in it.
As I watched the fish I was transforming,
changing little by little like a minnow in the reeds.
I could rise from the moons reflection on the water.
The world could turn tonight,
the tides turn and swim in liquid moonlight.
I hit my knees on the rock bottom of the stream.
“Look out for me Lord or you will have to put up with me.”
and was grabbed up clean.
As things stand now I am going to be alive.
Whether I am good at it or not.
Until the light presses me into that night. I am alive.
by Michael Hendrickson
A Scrapbook peek of Forrest Fenn.
You get drawn into the Stories which become alive and keeps calling for more. Photos and Drawings,Tales of youth and memories which last a lifetime. Intriguing, yet sad at times. You feel as if your right in the middle of the whole bunch, Love of Mother,Father,Skippy and June. But without his lovely wife,Peggy jean Proctor fenn,Who has been by his side longer than his family. I believe, Forrest would admit, he couldn”t of made it without the love of his life, Peggy, Through the good times and bad times. She has always been there. Trials, Time, and the love of a good Woman, has made this man into the most kind, generous man he is today, Who Loves nature, She gave him Space when he needed it, And is connected to The love of The Mountains, valleys, That special country we all take for granted sometimes. Part of his heart will always be In love with yellowstone. But now it’s ,Too Far To Walk.
by Virginia diane Arvada
Mankind has always yearned to travel back in time, a chance to witness with one’s own eyes events that have only been heard and dreamed. That actually takes place in Forrest Fenn’s My Prehistoric Friends. Here we meet the Clovis family. Not that you could understand a word of conversation with a clan that utters no known dialect. Yet, trade is an international language and trade need not be equal in monetary value, if both parties feel rewarded in the deal.
Fenn has a magical way of performing a confessional in such a lackadaisical and entertaining fashion that even the most appalled are wrapped up in his southern charm. When done with finesse, one must ask was that a confession after all? Was this the major event, a secret backstory of the famed Clovis Collection? We are left asking who -may- have betrayed whom or was anyone betrayed at all? Perhaps, only Fenn and his dual minded friend know for sure. Even then, “Two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead.”
Now, you will want to read My Prehistoric Friends. It’s alright to admit it and confess it to others. Go ahead, it’s good for the soul.
A man spends life to teach his peers,
outside his self in humble ways,
in sporting fun of coaching wares.
On narrow stretch of sandy road,
where fish are hooked without debate
within Grebe Lake and no mistake,
two souls go seek a place to strike
beyond the forte of guarded gate.
With no exception, no matter what,
a boy treads hard upon his bike
along a sandy stretch of soft,
to hike a coach forever liked.
On cycled path in trepid hearth,
of heavy loads and levied choice,
a boy gives sweat beyond his birth.
Along their strife to pleasant lakes
a vehicle breaches guarded gates
to pass these two, in laboured task.
Important men in shiny suits
do drive right past those humble few.
On finding destination sought,
to camp a favourite spot profound
with quiet solitude in mind,
a big black limousine is found.
On waking in a further place,
they find two tires entirely flat,
and Concy looks with friendly grace
to see a culprits friendly face
whistling into distant space.
And the mystery still remains..
by Curious Hobbit
The weekend after finally getting TFTW and having it in my hands non-stop, my 10 year old son noticed how much time I spent reading it. He asked me to read it to him one night at bedtime. So there we were head pressed against head on the pillow and I started reading him Buffalo Cowboys. Most of the time he would fidget and wiggle due to boredom. Not tonight. I got a good portion into the story and he started laughing, then as I continued I started laughing, then he started gut laughing and I started gut laughing. Good times. Hayden said he couldn’t wait for the next story. After putting the young one to bed, I couldn’t help but recall many fun times with my older brother. I have enjoyed reading about Forrest’s life and though it may seem minimal you can know for the time left in my life and for the rest of my young sons life, he will not be forgotten. I can only imagine how awesome his dreams must be.
Chapter 37 Treasures Galore – I picked Treasures Galore because it resonates with me and paints a beautiful picture with words, a picture, and illustrations. With this chapter, Forrest has woven things together to show us what the true treasure is. It’s not about the wealth, fame, or fortune. The true treasure is waiting to be explored. The wild untamed mountains and canyons have so much to share with us if we are willing to be bold enough to accept the challenge. There is so much to be learned by being still: listening and looking around while all alone in the mountains. Can you smell the pine trees? Can you hear the babbling brook that springs from the mountain? Do you hear the birds singing while you explore places that are more awesome than words can describe? Can you feel the cold from a winter blanket of snow? Do you feel the warmth of Spring bringing new life and hope? What about the palette of indescribable colors? The mountains are alive and ever changing. Thank you for sharing the Rocky Mountains with us Forrest! The mountains are calling and I must go.
by Hear me all
mom and me, Chapter 9
Why did Forrest end the “mom and me” with “I hope she knows I’m sorry?” I’ve heard him apologize before about the cougar he killed, but not about other things. Why sorry here? Was it just for not visiting her more often? Or for other things he did as a kid?
Many moms have worked overtime without proper compensation during history to bring kids these types of comforts in an uncomfortable world. I think we call them everyday heroes.
In my opinion his father seemed to be overly tough on him so his mother made sure he was given chances to bounce back from trouble. In the end the anticipation of his mother’s forgiving love gave him an important reason to return home instead of going to the dance. I bet she was proud of him for returning home. He probably felt good about that decision too since he feels he grew up a little that day.
Hugging reunions with moms are always the best. A mom is the place we are born to from the Cosmos, our first breath is given by her alone. I think I’ll give Saint Vickie a call now.
Although several stand out, I chose “born too late”. The thrill of finding his first arrowhead ranks among Forrest’s fondest memories. “It was not the arrowhead alone that marked the event; it also was that my father was there to share it with me. “ This speaks to the importance of spending time with his dad and making memories. It brought to my mind searching for sharks’ teeth with my dad along Myrtle Beach when I was young, in addition to other times that my father and I made memories together.
Forrest’s first arrowhead is also significant because it triggered the thrill of discovering the story surrounding the arrowhead. Who made it, and how was it used? What story does it tell? I have been fascinated by the tales told by the many places, objects, and people during this Chase.
I have always liked the picture of Forrest leaning against the 600-year-old excavated wall at San Lazaro Pueblo, and have often wondered about all of the amazing stories that place tells. Maybe that is why for Forrest, “every room that is not excavated is a book that I will never read.”
Of all the stories in “Too Far to Walk” the one that’s closest to my heart is “Mom and Me”. For one reason, Mother’s Day is my Thrill of The Chase anniversary and marks the first email exchange I had with Forrest. I wrote him “Make My Mother’s Day” and he did simply by replying. That was in 2015.
The most important reason though is because it’s not easy being a mom. I lost mine to cancer in April of 2008 and I have many regrets. I wish that I could go back and tell her how much I appreciate all her sacrifices and how the things that she taught me made me who I am today. That I love her. I had just reached my 30’s when she passed away and I was still under the spell of invincibility that youth casts on us. Now though I have three children and I know the struggle.
Without Lillie Gay Simpson Fenn there would be no Forrest Burke Fenn whom I admire so ardently, and I’d like to pay tribute to her and all moms for without them and their gray gowned patience where would we be?
Two hundred words isn’t a whole lot when being used to explain anything Forrest Fenn. Two hundred words is a ninety second spot, a minute and a half radio commercial…oh shoot, I’d better get talking!
I suppose I could tell you how I took TFTW to the local printer and had 11 x 17 posters made from the sketches in I WISH I HADN’T, and TREASURES GALORE among others; how I hung them on the wall in my breakroom and stared at them for hours on end. But that’s not my favorite story.
I could tell you how I found a match in one of said pictures to a place on Google Earth, and how I copied, cut and pasted – literally – these pieces together then sent it off to Forrest with just an arrow and a note written in sharpie, “I’m going here”! But that’s not my favorite either.
Maybe I should tell you how when I did go “there”, where I said I was going, I took a picture. Then, at home, I traced the shadows on to a carbon paper, and with my imagination, I found Bessie. Nope, not my favorite, besides, Bessie is in TTOTC.
I suppose I am left to tell you that my favorite story in TFTW is MY PREHISTORIC FRIENDS. But, I don’t have enough words to tell you why, and perhaps even disqualified.
There was a man.
Forrest Fenn isn’t just a catcher of unique and exotic memories, but a keeper of them as well. Simply run your fingers through the 100# platinum silk stock in which he keeps them and you’ll understand. Forrest Fenn takes his job very seriously.
There was a man.
I don’t know that because I visited some obscure museum a couple guys never built 20 miles out that side of Cody. Nor because of some “finding report” in the back of some Academic Journal I wasnt smart enough to read anyhow.
There was a man.
There was a man who was completely extinct to even imagination itself and (in one of the arguably greatest Hail Mary passes of all time*) FORREST. CAUGHT. HIM. What random dude scores a centerfold spread after a 500 year hiatus???
I’ll tell you who.
I can’t tell you his name or much of anything about him….but I CAN tell you that he was a really, really, lucky guy.
And that he had 123 (minus a few) brass tacks that never forgot about him.
And I know that because Forrest told me.
I chose “lost and found – a saga” as my favorite story.
I knew immediately,” lost and found-a saga” was my favorite but why required a bit more thought. Profundity came to mind. Directly followed by “200 words or less”. I’ve never been good at this sorta thing but I live in Montana and the snow is deep…
For me, Mr. Fenn’s story of the Spanish soldier tells a tale of a necessary spice of life. One which Forrest reminds us, is in the cabinet.
I am sure you all understand our time in history is distracting to say the least. Rewarded are our times with boots on the ground, a chance to pause and imagine. These moments bond us to these places and their shadows. Knowledge of those who came before us provide a marvelous sense of a shared adventure, often in the most majestic of places.
The secret of the soldier, told for us by Forrest, adds another voice to the whispers of the winds, an added density to the shadows, a renewed bond. Surely a smile is had by that Spaniard, forgotten for so long.
Imagination is more important than knowledge but knowledge helps us to imagine.
Please forgive my overly romantic thoughts, the snow is finally melting…
Chapter 47 born too late
I am the Indiana Jones/Forrest Gump type. I can relate to BTL.
My most notable find:
While venturing in the woods, I picked up a light bulb, I gently placed it in the back of my suv. In the spirit of Keeping America Beautiful, I felt rather proud of myself for contributing to the cause.
A few months had passed when I was confronted by family wanting to know why I had a crack pipe (light bulb) in my outfit and the consequences of getting caught with IT. My face got HOT. I could see it now, using the words ” I know you are not going to believe this but” to the local sheriff as I was being cuffed and stuffed in the patrol car, Lock Her UP chants in the streets by the PTA along with Bad Grandma signs,the judge’s vigorous rap as he says “GUILTY” as charged and visions of me, shoeless and shackled, working on the chain gang telling Boss that I was shaking the bush. I got rid of the trash faster than a firecracker in my hand. That’s all I have to say about that.
I loved all the stories in this book, told in a humorous, heartfelt style reminiscent of Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Such colorful characters and experiences. Born to parents who were the salt of the earth and in a “kinder gentler” time period that maybe prevented corruption and arrogance. So sad that real heroes in this world are ignored or go unknown while we idolize and worship the entertainment industry and sports.
The dashing war hero, Robin Olds. Poor Eric Sloane with such a beautiful angelic face stabbed in the heart by a brutal comment reducing a piece of his soul to “$17 a square inch!” Pricing a piece of artwork should be a mystical, ethereal experience but what he got was a cold, calculating, analytical assessment (a testament to your business acumen of course) but crude and coarse to a sensitive artist who thinks with the right hemisphere of the brain. I felt his pain and I’m just a step above coloring books!
But my very favorite part of the book was when you gave glory to God for creating our beautiful rivers. Nature truly is a testament to his greatness and love for us……
My favorite story in Too Far to Walk is treasures galore. It hints of riches new and old.
This story appears to contain more clues than any other story in the book. It shows he doesn’t always practice what he preaches, for how many acres of trees have his books consumed?
If you’re wise you found even the drawing holds secrets to his treasure. We see the tree stumps and rope again, stumps used to publish his books and hint of riches. He did not need to tell us to be safe because we already know better than scale a steep hill without a rope. Forrest didn’t obey all the rules, not even his own.
Forrest mentions the serenity of the forest, the beautiful trees, the sounds of nature, and the importance of remaining alert. He speaks of sitting quietly and how it can bring rewards, this relates entirely to sitting on the tombstone in Temple. It also hints of Gypsy music just beyond the cemetery.
I feel like the chipmunk in torpor waiting for winter to end so I can collect the nuggets Forrest has hidden. Then the story ends with a tall grassy field photo by Dal
By Bill Gorman, the FeΩΩatic
My favorite fishing hole
only I know
And to it I often go.
I have such fond memories,
And a 1,000 or more stories
I couldn’t tell them all in a lifetime,
But they’ll always be mine,
To cherish and share
With those who care
To hear my stories so rare,
Some are private for only me
See you at the 2017 Fennboree!
by Marty Davis
My favorite story is Saving Buttercup and Lollipop. It reminded me of this Edward Everett Hale quote at the end of a Peace Corps film: “I am only one, but still I am one. I can’t do everything, but still I can do something.” Forrest saw an injustice and did something. And he shared the story, perhaps inspiring others to do something. A kind man gives me hope for mankind. Ya gotta love a guy, and a story, for that.
Are we all connected? I want you to think about that for a moment before you answer. Since this is the Chase the first thing you have to ask yourself is what do I mean by connected? Hmmm……
Ok, let me explain. I think my favorite story from TFTW illustrates my point beautifully. I was hooked by The Chase the moment I read about it in the Readers Digest article in 2013, but when I read ‘lost and found – a saga’ for the first time on Forrest’s website I suddenly felt connected to the TTOTC in a very, very real way, and not only to Chase but also to a piece of history that has always fascinated me as well, the early Spanish explorers.
You see ‘lost and found-a saga’ took place in my back yard. Well not my actual back yard, but in a place just a few miles from where I was born and raised. I knew the gas station where f pulled in for gas, I knew cowboys from the Pitchfork ranch, I could probably drive that stretch of road in my sleep. And suddenly here was this millionaire that had hidden a million+ dollar treasure telling about being there when this 17th century explorer was found in MY BACK YARD!! And not only that it happened THE YEAR I WAS BORN!! Whoa!! Let me tell you I haven’t been able to leave the chase alone since that moment!!
So back to my original question, “are we all connected?” IMO the answer to this question is one of the most important lessons the Chase has to teach. It’s said that we are connected to anyone in the world within 6 degrees or less. I would think that we can find a connection to anyone in the past with not many more than that. And if we can find these connections in the past and present then we must be connected to the future in the same manner. That gives me pause for thought. How am I going to affect the future?
I bet if you dig just a little you can find your connection to.
by WY Girl
Reading TFTW is like opening a box of Forrest Gump Chocolates, all look scrumptious but hiding in that box somewhere is my favorite. Knowing its taste is so yummy, I drool with anticipation. As with chocolates, I have that one story in TFTW with which I most identify. That story is ‘my mirror for me’.
For all you young chickadee’s out there, trust me, by societies definition you too will grow into an old biddy! I did! Mirrors are friendly only to the young. The angst that I feel each time I sneak a peek, grows daily. It happens; we morph into old biddies and old farts! Just ask Errol Flynn.
Every story has a ‘but’ here is mine and why. For me this story is not about looking old, it’s about hope; because somewhere between the eyeball and the gray matter, a miracle occurs. Reflecting back at me is my sidekick of days gone by, one that still has hopes and dreams for what is yet to be.
For me ‘hope’ is a word not limited by its definition, it is the driving force that keeps me going.
My favorite story in TFTW is “Ode To Joe”. In this story Forrest reflects back on the memories of a dear friend. Many of us have friends like Joe in our own lives and we should cherish the friendships around us. Through the “Chase” Forrest has brought together many people from all walks of life and from all corners of the earth.
Some friendships that have been made in “The Thrill Of The Chase” and here on Dal’s blog may last a lifetime and some may pass by like a bouquet of cut flowers, but they are friendships ,none the less, that we’ll store in our keepsakes of memory.
“Ode To Joe” is a reminder to me to cherish the friendships around me, because someday they too will be gone. Forever lost in the sands of the hourglass of time……
” You only live once, live from within,
Cherish your time, with all of your friends”.
“Mirror On My Wall” represents all the reflections or chapters of Mr. Fenn’s life. Words spoken from his heart of a time of what once was. His vivid memories which made him smile inside. Others, with a tinge of regret. The simple times which brought him comfort, like a mother’s warm hug. Mr. Fenn’s thoughts of handwritten letters only to be lost in the ever-changing advancements of today’s technologies. To cry out, “Please slow down! Time has gone by so quickly!” We each will sit quietly in thought and have our life flash before us like an old black and white movie, in memories that are ours alone.
You’ve done so much, Mr. Fenn. I wish I could have seen through your eyes of what you saw over the years. It’s time to lay the hourglass on its side, my friend.
“Mirror On My Wall” truly touched my soul.
While all of Forrest’s stories are amazing, my favorite is “why was I not mad at him”. Admittedly, although it was the first story I happened to read in the book when I opened it, there is a sense of urgency he establishes in the first sentence that is easily felt by the reader. His clarity of thought and straightforward style in describing the emotions of his experience in seeing the P.O.W. are powerful.
Discovering the stories of Forrest’s life experiences through his writing has been a great joy to me. Never before have I heard of someone that seemed to be “Indiana Jones” in real-life. Then I opened up his book and sat slack-jawed reading all the fascinating stories made all the more vivid by Forrest’s descriptive style–his sense of place–in bringing memories to life.
I think the reason why this particular story stuck with me was because it reminded me of lessons taught to me by my own parents. Ideas such as “perspective” and “dignity” come to my mind because those were two things my parents told me to keep, no matter what, and because those themes permeate all of Forrest’s writing.
I love the dedication page, both the Quote and Dedication on it, because those few words share such a deep wisdom, love, and appreciation for all of life’s great treasures. However, since that isn’t a chapter, I will choose something else; and that would have to be Chapter 38.
I enjoyed, with my calculator, the tale Forrest told about his friend Eric Sloan. It kept me smiling and figuring all the way through. The 21” x 43” painting, selling for 17 dollars a square inch, figures correctly for about 15 thousand dollars, at $15,351. Forrest must have passed math.
But besides the riddling fun, I loved the trust and true value of friendship shining through his story. How great it is to discover and build a friendship, who you know complements, and makes you become better in all ways.
It’s interesting, that the same painting which sold for around 15,000 now sells for 73,000. A gain of 58,000. And although that could be considered a great return of investment, the return in friendship, like the one Forrest and Eric enjoyed, is beyond measurement. That gain is one of the best treasures one could ever find.
by jenny/ Mysterious Writings
My favorite story “I wish I hadn’t “, reminds me of the time I gave my son his first BB gun.
Where we live there’s an abundance of wildlife. We never had to kill animals for food so we just enjoyed watching them. Most of the time wild animals keep their distance but once in a while they allow you to get close.
I’ve been fortunate to have had a squirrel ( named squirrelly) that ate from my hands, a rooster (baby), that would sit on my lap to be petted like a cat and a woodpecker(woody), that would come to my porch every morning to sing his favorite song.
My son was excited to try out his new BB gun. I could hear him from my kitchen window every time he hit a can. Suddenly the shooting stopped. I quickly went outside to find my son kneeling on the ground with Woody cradled in his hands crying, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
My son never thought he could hit Woody when he pointed that gun at him and to this day he wished he hadn’t.
Is it possible that that mountain lion Forrest killed was someone’s pet too? I wonder.
Like Forrest… I, too, have a mirror on my wall. Looking back long ago, I recall flexing my tanned, youthful physique in its reflection. But recently, I keep asking the person staring back at me, “What have you done to me?” Time is unforgiving, and its actions are mostly permanent… not interested in being undone. Inching slowly closer each day to age forty-nine (the chapter in question), I stand toe-to-toe with a choice. Do I keep asking myself what happened within that silvered, glassy image until it’s too late to get the proper answer, or do I stare that person down and boldly tell him that he shall stand in my way no more?
Do you have a similar problem as you look in the mirror each day? If so, then at what point does that person looking back, draw a line in the sand and dare you to cross it? I’ve seen what I must do to ford that stream, and finally… I’m calling his bluff. It requires change and planning. I have become steadfast and determined, and I believe that I can pull it off. The only thing that remains… is making him believe too.
by Iron Will
While I suspect my favorite story of Forrest Fenn’s life will forever hover just above the keys of an old Underwood typewriter, the confines of requirement restrict my current preference to the chapter “mirror on my wall” from Fenn’s published book, “too far too walk.”
In this chapter, Forrest gives us the gracious gift of internal reflection- a defiant yet vulnerable glance into an explanatory moment. It’s deeply personal and yet, broad enough that we can all imagine ourselves into the narrative – past, present or future – and genius in his form of gallows humor, which has always served him well.
The true genius of “mirror on my wall” however, is that it’s meaningful enough to stand alone – without the context of its previous pages – while simultaneously satisfying the audience as a reasonable closing chapter, and enticing the reader full-circle as a preface.
In this sense, if you can think like I do, Forrest Fenn has secured that he will never become an obsolete entity in his whole story-writing process.
Mountain Man is the story for me,
Favored in my heart for it’s subtlety,
For below the surface of this reverie,
Lies a hidden form of analogy.
Perhaps the connection is not true,
But in my opinion it’s a mirrored view,
Of turning something old into something new,
Could this Chase be a Rendezvous?
It’s not my desire to overcomplicate,
But look at the way we all congregate,
For the life of Fenn we all celebrate,
A refined form of Rendezvous we permeate.
And what better way to get us off our bum,
Fenn made a wager to have some fun,
You’ll need imagination for it’s your gun,
Even if you miss you’ll still have won.
When day turns night, firelight barely bright,
A fleet-footed figure quickly takes to flight,
Destined for a warm spot, out of sight,
Interpreting the Poem is not his plight.
For he rests easy, he knows the spot,
Yet we the searcher, we do not!
“It was never the quarry, but the Chase they sought,”
A reimagined Rendezvous, are we not?
There are so many wonderful stories in Too Far To Walk, I find it difficult to choose just one. The World Lost Its Darling is about Amelia Earhart and the importance of written correspondence. Beowulf and Elvis, Forrest’s alligators and how they may have influenced a gubernatorial election. A Sunday Kind Of Love, where Forrest happened upon singer Fran Warren many years after enjoying her music as a child. But the real connection for me is a photo on the jacket of the book. I imagine Forrest foreshadowing the forty nine stories within, as well as those waiting to be told. Forrest casts his reflection upon the soothing water of his favorite fishing spot while his sturdy walking stick speaks of the many miles he’s hiked and shows his readiness for adventure. This is Forrest in his element, challenging us to follow in his footsteps, get outdoors, and never stop searching. Forrest is escaping the world to find solitude, treasures galore, and perhaps a prehistoric family. His life stories are like a box of chocolates and the presentation is most important. Oh wait,,,wrong Forrest 🙂 In short, my favorite story in Too Far To Walk is Forrest Fenn himself.
My favorite story in TFTW is “Mirror on My Bathroom Wall” it draws vivid images of awareness and time in my mind.
Time can be defined by our own internal clock or a pace set by what acts upon us. Memories are like mirrored pieces of sharp Technicolor glass shattered, shiny, and falling to the ground. As pieces fall in time the reflections of each memory can be seen as: kaleidoscopic and changeable, vivid and tamed, obscene and serene.
Time is simply a conjunction between me and it. Can you see it?
The images we see are based on the angle of ideas in our mind. As pieces are put together again and again we add scenes from the sides and sweep others alongside. Some pieces are folded while others find a more prominent place to reside.
A memory becomes “an it” a search; defined by steps in our own time and never by any others mind. We can now clearly see that memories are only lofty reflections on the surface and architecturally they are part of our minds eye. As sight darkens the final wish must see to defining your own time in your minds going.
The Lofty Caribou
My favorite story in Forrest Fenn’s book Too Far To Walk is “my prehistoric friends”. I found it very easy to identify with Fenn at that point in his life, having grown up in East Texas and having the same kind of freedom that he talks about so often. It was nothing to go off in the woods or fields, just doing guy things like hunting or fishing, or maybe just hiking and talking. And the farmers and ranchers were just good down home people, like Ernest Ingenhuert. To hop in the back of a pickup and go on an adventure was something we didn’t have to think twice about.
I have gotten very interested in searching for and collecting Indian arrowheads and artifacts, and that part of the story fascinates me. Guess I never realized how there are still so many available to be found, all around me.
The thought of having seemingly prehistoric people living in the area is beyond any boy’s wildest dreams. To me, its no surprise that Mr. Fenn grew up with a deeply ingrained love for history and past cultures, with primitive living people right there to the arrowheads and artifacts, a boy’s heaven!
I prefer Chapter 2, “Trophy Hat,” to all the others-
It simply reminds me of my father and although there must be
many differences between Fenn’s dad and mine, I will grant
you that going fishing, wearing eclectic style hats, and also
winning elegant trophies was integral to who he was. He passed
away in 2011 after a brief battle with leukemia. As a little kid I
remember baiting hooks with him, and looking for that special
sinker to take me to my prize catch. I inherited his tackle box,
but I’ll admit I haven’t used it- it is nestled between his rods
in his fishing boat in the garage, waiting for high adventure.
My dad loved pimento loaf sandwiches. He was just that type
of guy. I hated the stuff, but on our trips he made me devour them.
I vowed a long time ago to never eat pimentos, and now that I’m
older, scornful is still how I feel about them. Fenn puts his own
stamp on this chapter at the end when he informs us that he’s
hung his father’s hat in his den, where visitors will notice it only
as a curiosity. I love that!
In imagining a cold morning with the light new in the sky, walking along the bank of a river and suddenly, wonderfully surprised by the unexpected, I would have to make “Buffalo Smoke” my choice for favorite.
Another vision of grasses evoked keeping something hidden from the casual observer. It seems they play a part in more than a few of Forrest’s stories. Like waters…he speaks of those often also. He knows things are concealed in the grasses. He invites us to look. But that day it was his sense of smell not vision that alerted him he was not alone. Twelve head of buffalo resting within the camouflage, mere feet from him. Steam rising from warm bodies, a cloud of mist forming and climbing upward. The whole encounter seems so mystical almost enchanting. But to know that they accepted him as belonging there so unperturbed by his presence, that would be the best part. How many memories does Forrest have that happened along the banks of waters? Surely many of his treasured moments occurred there. What is to be learned from that? I’m not sure but perhaps it is along banks that I will find the answer.
Many of the stories in Too Far To Walk strike a chord in me that evoke feelings and often recall memories I had all but forgotten. It’s an emotional and many times painful process for me. Forrest’s brand of story telling is powerful in it’s ability to make me think. I think I could write something about all the chapters that fill his TFTW treasure trove but today I’m inclined, for the good or bad of the reader, to write briefly about Mirror on My Wall.
I’ll be 42 in a few weeks. I’m overweight, unhealthy and I’m barely adjusting to the light of day after years wasting away behind the desk of an office job. When I started pushing pencils 20 years ago I was a former athlete with formidable confidence and the notion that I would achieve all the great things my mom, family and friends told me I would. Or, did I tell them? Ether way, very few accomplishments have come to pass since I was a kid. Winning a national essay contest at 14 is no guarantee of future success. I am living proof, as I sit here at 11:15pm CST struggling to write 200 meaningful words.
Like Forrest, “my greatest regrets are the chances I didn’t take”. The image in my mirror is a constant reminder of that perpetual dissatisfaction. When I stare into the eyes looking back at me I see a body ravaged by years of abuse and neglect and a mind derelict of creativity and imagination. But, I’m finally learning that “no revenge is as rewarding as forgiveness”. As I forgive myself I feel better each day and I become a better father to my 2 year old boy and 6 month old bouncing baby girl. I’m feeling the edges and, if I’m lucky, I may find my way back to the middle of myself again. That’s where I’ll “begin it” this spring when I start my Thrill of the Chase. Thanks you Forrest for giving me that freedom.
by Martin Katz
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