The legend of the treasure has forever been a part of my memory, as the sink hole has always been a part of my existence.
The treasure tale came from the late 1800's but I never knew if it was truth or only legend. It began with a bank robbery. The posse followed the trail across our cedar glade, loosing track of the robbers as they split up. The posse pursued relentlessly and finally ended the chase by shooting the robbers. The money and the treasure that was stolen was never recovered. The amount of treasure grew as the legend did.
I think the search began with my grandfather. For me, it began with Dad. A wonderful adventure as children with a loving father who was more than willing to encourage our imagination. The tradition continued with the grandchildren. The tale never grew old and we never tired of treasure hunting..
We have the fifth generation At The Farm and the tale is retold with each adventure added. "Remember when Grandpa helped us dig..."
The sink hole had been on my mind lately. A natural hollow that generations have filled with brush and rock to protect the stock, but the sink hole remained. No one had ever checked there, so, why not?
Armed with shovel, tall boots, and gloves I was determined to explore the sink hole. Always on my mind, it quickly became an obsession. Years of trying to fill it made no difference, it not only remained but appeared to be growing.
The sun was barely greeting the new day, when I began removing the branches and brush that partially filled the hole. By noon, drenched with sweat, weak with exhaustion, and filled with exasperation, I finally reached the loose rocks, thrown in by hands that shared my DNA. I began removing the rocks.
Twilight skies sent me home. I did not sleep well and when I did, I dreamed of digging.
The new sunrise found me, by the edge of the sink hole, with a pick, a bucket, dogs to find any hidden snakes and enough water to make this day less thirsty than the last.
I was slowly deepening the hole, mounds of loose stone surrounded the hole. Waist deep in, I dropped to my knees to examine the lower edges. An opening, small yet visible...an opening through solid stone brought hope of a cave and my determination tripled.
Removing the moist, dark soil from the opening, deposited there by the years' decay of organic matter, was easy to remove with my hand tools. Working, removing the rich soil, bucketful by bucketful, the opening widened. Once again the light of the sun left me too early to continue.
Exhaustion that night made sleep easier but it did not halt my dreams.
The third day, I knew, my curiosity of years would soon be satisfied, whether it was only a small crevice in limestone or a cave, either way, I would know today.
This time my tools were, optimistically, flash lights, a camera and ropes. I had widened the hole enough to crawl into the opening. My light reflected on calcite and lime deposits that had taken years to create. The beauty took my breath. The flashlight could not measure the depth. I moved backwards to rejoin the sunlight.
I sat, outside the opening, filled with awe and wonder. Why had the cave revealed itself to me? What had drawn me here?
I drank cool spring water, resting, planning my next step...