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Finding a Treasure Trove
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Who knew I’d find a magical treasure trove in the woods on the same trail I’ve traversed at least a hundred times. You just never know. You’re just walking along, and then suddenly, boom…there it is. It’s been there all along only you didn’t know it.

I didn’t get out on my trail until after 6pm the other night which is kind of late especially because I just had to pick a few blackberries before my usual saunter through the woods. The blackberries bushes seem to be everywhere, and every time I walk past them, even after people have already picked them, there are more blackberries ripe and just right to pick. And I can’t resist when I see those plump ripe blackberries. I’ve picked so many this year, but I don’t seem to be able to save them.

I eat the blackberries before I can get any into the freezer. I wash them and put them into a large container in the fridge, and then I eat them plain, put some into my protein smoothies, into oatmeal or cereal, even in salad. It’s like I’m addicted to blackberries. To me that seems like a treasure trove in itself.

But nope. There’s another treasure trove or “magical treasure trove.” I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I’m not young or anything. I grew up in the 1960’s in San Francisco.

After I dropped off the blackberries, I took off again. It was already past 6:30pm. My younger son and his fiancé were supposed to visit me that evening. They had driven up to Oregon from California to see a band called Phish for three nights up at the Columbia Gorge, apparently almost six hours northeast from Eugene, Oregon where I live. I think my older son was there too.

The late afternoon had turned into early evening with shadows beginning to form, yet the sun wouldn’t go down for another hour. I wasn’t sure how far I’d get, but I walked at a fast pace to walk as far as I could up the neighborhood and into the woods. I crossed the first wooden bridge and could feel the trees surround and envelop me. The Sitka spruces and Douglas Fire and the deciduous trees. I had almost reached the fork on the trail where you can go three ways. I always take the Ridgeline trail up into the woods because it’s my favorite. Always will be.

I was about to do that when I stopped and peered into a kind of a grove, like a group of trees which formed a shelter. It kind of reminded me of the “Big Bush” at the “Greens” in Golden Gate Park where we always played. It felt like you were in a house made of trees. I had never walked inside this “big bush” type area. I was intrigued because I noticed a necklace hanging from a branch and a silver bracelet with some sort of jewels. I figured that someone placed them there for a reason, but didn’t think much more of it as I hurried by.

But for some reason, I decided to stop and look inside. It was pretty dark, so I couldn’t see much, so I slowly shuffled in. Suddenly I was surrounded by necklaces, crystals and decorations all over it seemed. A satin bow tied to a branch, a headband, and golden decorations of musical instruments like the ones you’d put on a Christmas tree. I couldn’t believe it. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I found more treasures, more beautiful objects hung from branches. At first some of them seemed camouflaged with the branches, but after a while I saw them. More musical instruments, more crystals, a heart-shaped keychain. Even the moss hanging fro the branches looked as if it had been artistically remodeled. Yes, it was an entire treasure trove in here, filled with bright, beautiful things everywhere and all around. Why hadn’t I noticed this before? Then, near the entrance, I saw a rock with “You are beautiful” painted in large letters. I had never noticed that before either.

I felt as if it was a gift to see all this, like I’d stumbled on something magical. I could not stop studying a necklace that hung just right with rays of sun shining through it. A simple circle with what looked like an eye in the middle surrounded by all shades of blue, like the ocean. I wanted to take it, but then I thought no, I’m not supposed to do that. I debated for a while. Then I thought, there’s a reason I found this, and this is for me. And I will replace this necklace with other beautiful things that I own. And hopefully, it will be okay. Yes, I found a treasure trove.

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