Treasure Hunt

After my father died and we moved away from the house I’d grown up in, I often thought that I’d forgotten something: What if my father had hidden a treasure chest—or a message—for me in the house, or in the yard, or down at the beach, and had told me where, but I hadn’t been listening? What if I’d been too upset to hear? Or too young? What if he’d given me a hand-drawn map, that took me from bush to rock, from cabinet to floorboard? What if the one thing I was missing was there, waiting for me, if only I could remember?

For a long time, knowing I’d lost the map, I looked for the treasure elsewhere—in novels and poems, in museums and galleries, in walks on the beach and trudges through the woods. I looked for the treasure in the people I had loved. I found very many clues.

But I stopped looking at some point. I forgot that I’d forgotten, and that there was a treasure buried somewhere, waiting for me. I am now officially resuming the hunt. Here’s a clue I’ve had in my pocket on a crumpled paper for many, many years: