Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oh how wonderful it is to be a miner

You wake up before the sun comes up; throw on your favorite pair of jeans, that jacket that fits you just perfect and your trusted work boots, while still rubbing the sleep from your eyes. Its pitch black out and there’s a chill in the atmosphere that hits you as you step outside of your cabin onto the porch and breathe in that fresh mountain air. As the air reaches your lungs and you begin to breathe out, you are instantly awakened. You climb into your trusty old pickup truck and drive several of miles down a dusty old road to your spot. You grab your gear out of the bed, with only the dim rays of the fading cab light to help you see. You grab your helmet with the lamp to light your way, your pick axe to help you chip away at the rock, and head towards the mine. You’re full of excitement and expectation for what you hope to find today. You’ve got that good old fashioned gold fever that so many before you have had. Daydreaming of striking it rich and yelling “EUREKA”!
Mining is a very tough job; some say it’s the most dangerous job around; digging holes in the earth, looking for coal, ore, gold, minerals and other valuable treasures; being deep inside of a mountain with no air vents, light, or even the company of another human being, with only a 3 inch light on your helmet to light a small fraction of your immediate surroundings for hours. It’s quiet, eerie quite. You willingly put your life on the line for a chance to hit the glory hole.

Being a prospector seems to be a dying profession, a dying breed, really. It’s hard, back-breaking work that’s labor intensive, dirty and exhausting. The dust gets in your lungs. The dirt ends up in places where the sun don’t shine. Yet this work is also therapeutic, grounding and extremely rewarding all at the same time. It’s rewarding not just in the pay, but that feeling of putting in a good, honest, hard day’s work. You get up early and come home late.  It’s quite unlike the hustle and bustle of the city and that all too typical desk job in which you sit under fluorescent lights, straining your eyes at a computer screen, with your shoulders in a permanent shrug of tension all day long. You don’t get one breath of fresh air all day. What kind of life is that anyhow? But that would never have suited you. You’re right where you need to be. You’re doing exactly what you were made to do. It drives you. That sense of adventure. Oh how wonderful it is to be a miner.

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