Boots on the ground (BOTG) was always the fun part for me. I don’t know how many searches I’ve been on and it never really mattered if I was even close to the treasure or even in the right state. It was all just an excuse to get out in the wilderness and hike around and explore new areas and have some fun pretending I was going to find the treasure. But eventually I had to stop doing that because it got to be an expensive hobby and I couldn’t afford to just keep driving around the Rocky Mountains on a wild goose chase looking for gold, no matter how much fun I was having. But the poem had become stuck in my mind, playing over and over in an endless loop, even when I was hiking outside the Rockies. Somehow I had become obsessed. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was a crazy idea that Forrest even hid a treasure valued that high somewhere out there. I mean what if someone accidentally stumbled across it and found it without even having any knowledge of the poem. Or what if a park ranger in Yellowstone found it and then what…the government takes it? I would think that would be the last thing that Forrest would want to happen. So, at some point I had a shift in my thinking. I began to think that maybe the treasure chest wasn’t actually hidden out there in the mountains and that maybe the poem was just a riddle to be solved mentally. Does that sound crazy? Anyhow, this solve is a mental solve only, using imagination. All I ask is that you read my solution with an open mind because my solve is pretty far out there. After almost a decade, still no one has found the chest with traditional thinking…with BOTG mentality. So, I’m thinking outside the box. Way outside the box.
Forrest used the word “good” in the poem, instead of using the more grammatically correct “well”. Is there some reason we have to be good? Forrest spent a long time writing the poem and I’m sure he chose every word carefully, and if he used the word good instead of well, then I’m sure it must have meaning in the poem. The treasure chest is said to have possibly once contained a bible, so maybe there is a connection to the word good and maybe morality plays a role in the poem. In The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC), Forrest mentions Catcher in the Rye in the chapter titled “Important Literature”. Forrest thinks the book is about him and says that it was “my very own story line”. The title Catcher in the Rye comes from a song that the main character hears and misinterprets. Holden (the main character) wants to “catch” children in their uncorrupted innocence before they “fall” into adulthood, or in other words to protect innocence from the corrupting influence of experience. So is there a “fall” in Forrest’s poem? A fall from grace and Forrest wants to be the “catcher”? “And take it in the canyon down”…that canyon leads to hell! In Forrest’s poem we have the line, “There’ll be no paddle up your creek”, which to me, sounds like we may be in trouble…we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle (because of our sinful ways…we have fallen).
In Important Literature, Forrest doesn’t really care for The Great Gatsby, a cautionary tale with themes of decadence and excess. And when Forrest talks about For Whom the Bell Tolls, he’s describing a completely different book. Death is the primary theme in For Whom the Bell Tolls and is the primary theme of Forrest’s poem in my opinion. In Forrest’s poem he writes “the end is ever drawing nigh”. That line always sounded a little ominous to me. I think he’s talking about the end of life. We have the double omega at the end of the book. Omega means the end so the double omega would mean the end of the end…or a new beginning. In my solution, the first omega (or the first end) represents a spiritual death and the second omega represents a physical death. On page 15 in TTOTC, forrest says “that before too long I’ll make my last flight to where even memory itself will never have been”…the last flight, meaning death and his spirit flying up to heaven. On page 142 he writes, “Today I looked up in the sky and saw that I shall never die”, meaning that the physical body may die but the spirit lives on in the afterlife.
The quote that Forrest mentions from the T.S. Eliot poem says, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”. Basically the quote is saying that we are going to end where we start. But how can that be? Are we going in a circle? Yes, two circles. Two cycles. Two omegas.
I started out by looking for the blaze first because that’s the trail marker. That puts you on the correct path. “Begin it where warm waters halt” is not the beginning of the poem. We need to start at the beginning of the poem where the keyword is located in the first stanza. He tells you that he’s giving you a hint, in the line…And hint of treasures new and old. The keyword is old. Start out by looking for the blaze…just heavy loads and water high…that’s the blaze. It’s not a waterfall, that’s the wrong direction…your arrowhead should be pointing up! When Forrest fell from the sky after being shot down, he was saved by being pulled up. That’s the direction you want to go after you die…up, not down to hell!
As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold
I can keep my secret where
And hint of riches new and old
The keyword is old. He’s talking about Old Faithful in this first stanza. Don’t think of “I” as meaning Forrest speaking to you, think of “I” as Old Faithful speaking to you.
As I (Old Faithful) have gone (erupted-the water is gone, it has left the chamber) alone in there
And with my treasures bold (This is the blaze, the water in full display-the eruption).
I can keep my secret where warm waters halt (which is in the clouds, or in heaven).
New and old…new eruptions, old eruptions.
Okay, I guess I need to explain WWWH (where warm waters halt). Hot water comes out of Old Faithful and most of the water falls back down, except for the finite particles (the steam or the mist) which rises due to temperature. The mist is the warm waters, which rise until they reach the colder air high up in the sky. That’s where warm waters halt and clouds are formed. The clouds represent heaven and the mist represents a spirit that reconnected spiritually with God. More on that later. We need to start at the beginning of the path. So we begin it WWWH, or in other words, in heaven. We start in heaven and God gives us life to begin.
And take it in the canyon down (ATIITCD). Those of you who are familiar with the searcher who goes by the name Seeker, may remember Him talking about “take it in” to mean view. So we take in the view. We have to view the path, that is, we have to visualize the path in our mind’s eye only (imagination) since the path takes us underground. And we’re going to take it (the water cycle of Old Faithful) into the canyon down. Water is a symbol of life across many different cultures. So in the poem, life is symbolized by the water which I’ve already pointed out by saying that the mist is symbolic of a spirit going to heaven. So as the rain (or snow) comes down, this is the “fall”. As we go through life, we fall into sin, because let’s face it, we’re all sinners.
Not far, but too far to walk. Hell is too far to walk, and we won’t be walking at all since this is a mental solve, no BOTG needed.
Put in below the home of Brown. The home of Brown is Earth. Earth is not capitalized when preceded by “the” – for example, everything on the earth, as opposed to everything on Earth (with no “the”). The poem doesn’t say put in below the home of the brown. That’s why he capitalized Brown. So the canyon down, is below Earth. In TTOTC on page 48, Forrest says after washing dishes all day… “My hands turned white and had deep canyons in them”. So the canyon is small, or starts off small, just a little crevice where the water seeps down underground.
I’ve made a rudimentary drawing to help you visualize my solve.
So what I’m saying is that the poem takes us through two water cycles of Old Faithful. These two cycles are the double omegas. From there it’s no place for the meek. So the water seeps down the crevice (the canyon down) and into the chest. So, we’re at the gates of Hell (the magma chamber) now, and that’s just too far to walk!!!
The end is ever drawing nigh. So it’s a cycle that repeats itself over and over and we continue to sin and put ourselves in Hell. We need to break the cycle!!! That’s why Forrest used the word “good” in the poem instead of using “well”. We have to be good unless we want to end up in Hell!!!
There’ll be no paddle up your creek. That’s the constrictor that the water is forced through. So basically we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle if we don’t change our evil ways!!!
Just heavy loads and water high. This is the eruption of Old Faithful. Water is spewing everywhere like the tears we’ll be crying from a life of sin. We hit rock bottom because of our immoral ways and there’s only one way to go from here…UP! Water high…meaning WWWH…we’ve had a spiritual death and now we reconnect with God.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze. Wise, because we need to see the error of our ways before we die and end up in Hell. Look quickly down your quest to cease. This is the start of the water cycle again for the second omega, or the rest of our lives, hopefully by now, living a more spiritual life. I think the second omega represents our physical death.
But tarry scant. So now we are in between eruptions. We’re down in the water chamber (the chest) and we have to wait a while but not too long, for the water to fill up the chest again and for the eruption to happen. We don’t want to tarry down in Hell.
With marvel gaze. So is the marvel gaze hell? From TFTW (Too Far To Walk) I believe the last chapter is about the marvel gaze. He’s looking into the mirror at a younger version of himself and in the mirror poem on page 259 he’s not happy with the looks of his old age (hell) and he asks the mirror to change his looks to twenty-three, his ideal age (heaven). Then in the mirror poem he says “Maybe we can compromise, If you’ll just make me forty-four” (the middle…between heaven and hell). So the marvel gaze would be the eruption itself (the blaze). So we’re down in hell again because we’re all prone to making mistakes. But this time we just tell the devil to go squat in a cactus patch and get the hell out of there!
Just take the chest and go in peace. This is the second eruption or the second omega (our physical death). The double omega means the end of the end…or a new beginning. We die a physical death but our spirit travels up to heaven! Hallelujah!
So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answer/s I already know I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. So we know why Old Faithful erupts and after every eruption it is “weak” until it fills with water again and the cycle continues. Plus, Old Faithful is slowing down…it’s not quite as faithful as it used to be. Is that what’s happening in today’s world…we’re not quite as faithful as we used to be? I’m not a religious person ( I don’t use the Bible to connect with God) but I am a spiritual person and I connect with a higher power through meditation.
We all know that war is hell. And it’s possible that Forrest views war as a sin. In “My War For Me” (in TTOTC), on pages 81 and 82, Forrest writes about a mission where he comes across a large group of people and he has to decide if it’s a legitimate target or not. He describes the utter chaos, the panic, the terrible fear of the people below him. Forrest said he felt ashamed and started crying in his oxygen mask. He says, “Suddenly, I hated Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara and all of the other politicians who were sitting in their fat offices at home, totally oblivious to what war was really like. I think war was a spiritual death to Forrest.
So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold. Of course we can all hear when Old Faithful erupts and you already understand now why he used the word good instead of well in the poem. And worth the cold, of course, is where warm waters halt…up in Heaven.
If you are brave and in the wood…well, I have to be brave to write something as outrages as this! And this seems to be the place to post it. Home of Dal is in the wood because that’s where Forrest’s posts all his Scrapbooks.
I give you title to the gold…this of course…To the Gold… is the title of Forrest’s poem. What do you all think?