The long-awaited sunshine and warmth coaxed my bike out of the shed and we were off for the first ride of the season. I rode a few miles over to Vermont to drop off some mail and on the return home, I passed the coordinates for the geocache named Red Rocks.
Red Rocks and I have a history spanning a couple years. In four previous attempts to find the cache I’d walked away skunked.
(Geocaching is a “treasure” hunt. There’s an online community of people who hide boxes or vials in the woods, sometimes with small prizes inside, sometimes just a log to sign. You use a GPS to locate the cache. A fun little hobby.)
Now, I don’t like not finding things and this is the only geocache to date that I’d failed to find. The location sits within a mile of my home, just off the road, and so for the past two years every time I’d drive by the site, I’d be thinking about how this treasure continued to elude me.
I hopped off my bike and trekked into the general area. I pulled out my phone (there’s a sweet app) and started following the compass to where it was telling me the cache was hidden. All ground I’d covered before.
The location is called Red Rocks because it sits on a creek surrounded by red slate. The site is difficult to reach in winter with the snowpack and the icy rocks make dropping 5 feet into the creek a real possibility. In the summer the adjoining field becomes an impenetrable corn maze. So if I didn’t find it on this visit, I’d likely be waiting until fall.
And again, after 15 minutes of searching, I found nothing but a woodchuck burrow and a Snapple bottle.
This thing has to have disappeared, I thought. I could not have missed it all these times.
The app lets people who found the cache previously sign a log book, and so I checked it to see the last time it was found.
October. Hmmmn. Probably still here then.
Oh, and there was a clue… something about how the last person couldn’t find it either until they “saw the light.” Based on the time and date when they found the cache, I tried to estimate where the sun would have been at looked in that direction, but no, nothing. I felt the familiar frustration of not being able to figure something out.
My GPS told me I was within 3 feet of the cache, and yet I was still standing in the field, on the edge of where all the hiding places would be (the trees, rocks, and creek bed).
I decided to ignore the machine and just explore. Immediately a picker bush bit into my naked legs and a vine nearly tripped me right into the creek.
Fuck this, I thought. I’m done. El churcho.
For the first time in two years of looking, I completely gave up. For real.
Yes, this would be a black hole on my resume. A mark on my permanent record. My shame. Red Rocks Geocache 5, Drew 0.
I began to head toward my bike, my intuition guiding me to take a new route through some still leafless saplings.
And you know what happened next.
I saw the light.
The tiny plastic flashlight, hanging from a wire.
I connected to the awesome power of giving up. I connected to the awesome power of dropping my resistance (to NOT being able to have something I wanted). And certainly, I connected to the awesome power of instant manifestation.
On the face of it, my treasure was a tiny scroll of paper that looked as though it had gone through the washing machine. Worthless in many respects.
But for me, remembering the awesome power of letting go and seeing my desires manifest instantly?
That’s a treasure.
(P.S. For reasons unknown to me, I found the cache about 25 feet from where my GPS was telling me it was hidden. That ends up being a large search area.)
(P.P.S. I wrote a whole book about this subject and you might like it.)