The cave lay close to the top of a dry creek that cut through the mountain side. The solid rock bed held perfect circles where grind stones had been cut and removed long ago. Traveling for at least a quarter mile up to the left the cave became visible.
No one knows how long this cave has existed nor how long it has been used. No one tried to guess. It has been known longer than my father's grandfather knew.
It was an outing for the family to screen for artifacts along the strong creek bank, picnic in the grass, explore the cave shelter and even swim.
On a school day when I was not allowed to go Dad and Uncle Bill decided to explore. In the cave they moved a large flat rock thinking maybe it had fallen from the ceiling. They soon discovered it was a carefully placed stone covering a lone burial spot where a man sat upright with arms around knees that hugged his chest. They carefully respectfully replaced the stone, notified an archaeological department within a college and guided the archaeologist to the site.
Dad's only request was a report of what they discovered. He only wanted the knowledge of the time, the tribe, the man.
No word ever came. We never visited the cave again since it seemed disrespectful to do so. The days along the creek ended and our knowledge of what lay above the beauty gave us pause to visit.
I shall not name the cave, nor the creek, nor the road. The land has been purchased by a company that gobbles land like cookies, crumples the empty bag of what once was and abandons it with no regard for what they have destroyed for gain.
I may be the last to know where the rocks turn toward the cave, the last to know what once was. I will not tell. May the memory be buried with time since the place may already be covered with sand. To the one we disturbed, forgive us. To the one who removed him, may the kept knowledge rot your brain. To the ones who raped the land, may you know the feeling of being stripped and exposed to the world.
When we are gone and the land has healed may someone discover my secret and honor the past as we have done. May you listen with an open heart and discover the story the lone member of some forgotten tribe tried to tell us.