I spent all day yesterday treasure hunting. No, I did not go down in the depths of some cave with a miner's lamp and pick and shovel thrown over my shoulder, nor did I strap on a scuba tank. I did it as any logical couch potato, big dreamer would, with notebook and pen in hand and laptop on my lap, of course.
I spent a bright sunny June Saturday, locked in the Ali Baba treasure cave of my mind, as I plotted and mapped out the clues to Forest Fen's Treasure. Instead of spending the day out cleaning out my flowerbeds, or going for a hike, or finishing the Damn Never-To-Be-Finished- Book, (from here on out to be referred to as DNTBFB which could also stand for DadNabitTurkeyBastingFuggingBook, ) which would surely give me more likely and immediate rewards, I went chasing after a dream that thousands of others have chased and still haven't caught. And they've been chasing that treasure for years. What chance do I have?
As good a chance as they do.
A month ago I sent in a contest entry to win a 200 year old Inn in Maine. (Were any of you fellow bloggers my competition?) I dreamed of being the caretaker of that old Inn. Taking yearly jaunts out into the woods on a snowy December day with my guests towing sleds behind them, (think Currier and Ives). Cutting down the perfect tree, and then decorating it later from boxes of antique ornaments hauled down from the attic as we drank hot cider and listened to Christmas Carols. I planned to let my littlest guests set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk in the summer, I'd bake the cookies. I dreamed of my granddaughter receiving her first kiss on those steps, of handing her over the keys some day. Of her dragging the boxes of ornaments down from the attic. Squeezing the lemons. Baking the cookies.
I didn't win.
But that's okay.
I enjoyed richness of my far flung dreams.
Funny how quitting drinking is so much like a treasure hunt. I didn't envision it that way, especially in the beginning. When I was so sick. My days burdensome. My nights dreamless. I wasn't interested in treasure seeking. All I wanted to do was escape the dungeon I was trapped in. I didn't know there were riches waiting for me, If I had, maybe I would have tried to escape earlier. Maybe I would have sat and plotted and mapped and felt my heart flutter back to life as I imagined all the glittering jewels waiting for me to find them. Instead of dwelling on my loss of drinking with all of it's false shine. Fool's gold.
I wished I would have dreamed of trips into the snowy woods, lemonade stands, my granddaughter's first kiss, a best selling DNTBFB. I wished I would have wool gathered and taken flights of whimsy. Gone all starry-eyed and obsessed, just thinking about all those gems laying at my feet.
I wish I hadn't been daunted by the numbers of people that had searched for the same treasure for years and failed. Because, you know what? Their failures didn't matter. All that mattered was that I dreamed big enough and held on to the dream long enough to find the treasure. No matter the disappointments. No matter the misread clues. The wrong turns. The rock slides and washouts.
All that mattered is that if I kept dreaming and searching, I would find the treasure.
And I did. And that treasure chest held so many more riches than rubies and gold. It housed more bounty than that 200 year old inn could hold.
P.S. If you are one of those in the early days of sobriety, one of those who are suffering with mourning or sickness, start plotting and start searching. Get out a piece of paper and draw yourself a map. What treasures do you want to find or retrieve? Map out how you're going to get there. Have some relationships you want to mend? Put them on the map. Have some health or spiritual goals, Mark them with an X. Carry the map with you at all times.
P.P..S. Yes, I have pinpointed exactly where Fenn's treasure is give or take a hundred miles or so, so there's no reason for the rest of you to even look.