Carefully clawing at the soil, your fingers diligently uncover more of the thin silver chain, slowly revealing a most delicate thread and wondering if one of its fine links might have broken to cause it to slip free from whomever was once wearing it?

How long might this chain be, you wonder, a bracelet, or a necklace? Your mind curiously begins to open these questions, your fingers playfully foraging, uncovering more and more. Growing excitedly keen to determine its unbroken length, this tiny chain seeming to continue regardless, at least for the time being, partially hidden beneath the soft earth.

Suddenly the chain snags, stubborn and resistant, and you scratch at the dirt, uncovering nothing but the decay of broken leaves and the fibrous follicles of fine haired veins and roots. Pinching the exposed chain between your thumb and forefinger you feel for the resistance, careful not to tug too hard, sensing its length must be buried deeper, threaded down into the soil.

You dig your fingers into the dirt and feel your nails scrape the soil, mindful of how many centuries it’s been since we scratched the land with our bare hands. And there’s something about the feel of the damp dirt now staining your skin, it feels thankfully real.

Beneath the loose and easy surface, the soil has become tight and compact, and so you look about you for something to help you quarry and finding a blunt stick your fingers work to grip the short tool and begin to gouge the ground.

A pocket knife would help, you can’t help but think, better yet a garden trowel. And regardless you persist. Stabbing at the dirt, scratching at it, chiseling and chipping the pieces away.

Carving out a small, shallow crater, the silver chain resists, still stubborn, stuck and buried deep, unwilling or unable to yield to your insistence. You persevere, until having dug enough of a shallow you can reach in with your fingers, grip the earth and tear at it, breaking the ground away.

Repeating the routine, you resume with the stick, picking at the ground until you can claw your way deeper, and finally the stick hits against something hard.

Digging your fingers into the dirt you feel for the edge of the obstruction, a pendant perhaps, or maybe just an errant pebble. Determined, you scratch at the soil, and smile with an archaeological sense of satisfaction, discovering the knurled edges of something man made, knowing your curiosity and your keenness of eye have led you to uncover something magical.

Brushing away the broken ground reveals a silver hoop set onto the cylindrical cap of small ornamental pendant, the last of the silver chain threaded through and ending in an unfastened clasp.

Dislodging the dirt from around its ornate edges, you tease the cylinder out into the open, unveiling its hardened glass body to the light. Then, using your thumb to smear away the damp grime, you reveal the smooth swerve of its clean curve, admiring this little vial, silver capped and delicately threaded on an unbroken length of silver chain, with a tiny scroll of paper rolled tightly inside.

Continued…