Forrest Fenn, Home of Brown, and the Grail Legend
It has been said by Forrest Fenn many times, “I didn’t say I buried the treasure chest, I have said that I hid it.” He has been saying this since the beginning of the hunt and it has been taken to mean, the bronze chest is not confirmed to be buried, but it could be. Well, I am wondering why he doesn’t just say if it is buried or not?
One of the reasons could be how most of us define ‘bury’. Buried often conjures the image of ‘placed in the ground and covered with earth.’ Does Forrest feel if he says it’s ‘buried’, we would all have this image of it being ‘buried in the ground’ in our heads, and it is actually ‘buried’ another way? If this is the case, ‘hidden’ would be best stated because it covers all thoughts and doesn’t mislead at all.
But then I noticed an interesting addition to one article which quoted Forrest saying, ‘I didn’t say I buried it’. He then added, “That doesn’t mean it isn’t, but I just didn’t want to give it as a clue.” So I suppose my question of why doesn’t he just say it isn’t buried or not is answered. It is because he doesn’t want to give it as a clue.
This made me wonder if ‘this clue’ (whether it is buried or not) is then found in the poem. For if a line in the poem could give the meaning ‘the treasure is buried (or not)’, then it is very important Forrest Fenn never reveals whether it is or not. Because if he gave it as a clue, then no one would look for that clue in the poem’s understanding.
So, is there a line in the poem which could direct the seeker to know if the ‘treasure is buried or not.’ I think there is a possibility, and it involves the ‘home of Brown’.
Most are aware of the T.S. Eliot quote Forrest shared in Six Questions. This was not the first time he has used it. He includes the part, “….and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know it for the first time”, in his book, The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo. This book was published in 2004. For me, this suggests the quote was not a passing thought to add to 6Q’s, but it is a belief Forrest has held dear for many years. It also suggests to me, since he seems fond of Eliot’s quote, Forrest may have read other T.S. Eliot writings.
One of Eliot’s most famous works is The Waste Land. Readers of The Waste Land are informed by his notes that it was inspired by Jessie Weston’s book entitled From Ritual to Romance. To briefly and partially summarize, Weston’s book speaks of the Grail legend and how the king and his land have lost its fruitfulness. And it is the questing knights who hold the land’s cure for the dying land.
I think Eliot’s poem contains some of Forrest’s thoughts about the changing ways of time. Although there are many meanings to be found in Eliot’s words of The Waste Land, one is the damage modern society can cause, and the joyful remembrance of the past.
This is relatable to the reasons for the creation of The Thrill of the Chase. Forrest is often quoted saying he created the hunt to get children away from their electronics, families out exploring, and generally, to just get people to enjoy the country again. It would seem he does not like the ‘modern’ ways which have possibly caused the land to ‘wither’.
In The Waste Land, the land is described as ‘brown’. Like mentioned, it is reminiscent of the Fisher King’s land which has withered and become barren in the Grail legend. This land is not only the color of brown, but it can be called Brown. I don’t want to go into further meaning here, but in order to ‘heal’ the land; it connects to the Quest… or the thrill of the chase.
Now it is true, it is not for certain whether it connects to Forrest’s Thrill of the Chase. Or if even his thoughts on ‘let them experience the quest’ relates to how the land is healed, even though they seem similar. But it is possible.
Did Forrest know and associate Eliot’s Waste Land to his poem? Could Brown, the waste land, refer to ‘our land’? If so, could the ‘home of Brown’ imply the ‘Earth.’ What is the home of the ‘Waste Land’? It is the Earth. (as one meaning)
So ‘Put in below the home of Brown’ could imply ‘put in below the earth’ and indicate to the seeker the treasure is buried.
The next line after ‘Put in below the home of Brown’ is ‘From there it’s no place for the meek’. I suppose most feel ‘there’ would refer to the previous understood location. In which case, if the above interpretation is pursued, it could read, From there/below the earth, it’s no place for the meek. Could this suggest a cave?
Does the second stanza take you to the spot, and the third describe it? No place for the meek. End is near. No paddle up your creek; the creek (water flow) which may have created the cave is now gone? Heavy loads could imply the earth above you? and water high suggesting you are below?
Just some things to consider, put a side, or discard. I am not sure which I am going to do yet. I do like how both Eliot’s The Waste Land and Forrest’s poem includes the following mentioning of peace, though. And I will leave you with it too.
Eliot’s The Waste Land ends with “Shantih, Shantih, Shantih” which is Sanskrit for ‘the peace which passeth understanding’.
Forrest’s poem tells us to ‘just take the chest and go in peace’. However, we can only do this once we understand.
Best of luck with whatever you seek!
Other links on the treasure hunt: The Thill of the Chase by Forrest Fenn links
Other articles on ‘home of Brown’: