February 10, 2016
Greetings from the Windy Mountain.
We have had a nice mix of wind, sun and rain lately. The wind and sun help to keep our battery bank well-charged, and the rain provides plenty of water for my weekly shower. :-)
I apologize for missing my blog entry last week. Sometimes, life on the mountain throws out some unexpected challenges. In addition, urgent trips to the dentist and misbehaving parasites (internal) add their time requirements to the mix.
I am back this week, however briefly, to at least keep in touch with you and to let you know that I am still alive and kicking. All of our projects and plans are still intact. We are still progressing a little more each day.
I hope you are well this week and progressing with your life’s plans and goals. Have you been out prospecting for gold lately, in any of its various forms? Have you had a chance to go hiking or exploring recently? Have you made any new discoveries, either on the internet, in a book or out in the field?
As I have been thinking a lot lately about times in my life when I have made extremely exciting discoveries, I recall one experience in particular this morning. I was living and working as a full-time gold prospector in the very remote, northern region of Mato Grosso, Brazil. This was back in the late 1970’s and I was in my naive mid 20’s. Our small camp was very rustic and only accessible by a single-engine airplane. We were far away from the nearest outpost town.
At the time, I was managing about a half-dozen Brazilian, artisanal prospectors who would each go out in different directions to search for gold each day. At the end of the day, over dinner, we would discuss the day’s discoveries and look at the gold samples that each prospector had collected.
One evening, one of my guys told me that he had been panning up a tiny stream in the jungle north of our camp, about a 3-hour hike away. His samples were growing richer and richer as he worked his way upstream. Each pan produced an ever thickening, solid line of fine gold. Then, all of a sudden, the gold quit; his pans were completely empty, there was nothing. He remarked that he had never seen anything like this before. He was puzzled.
The moment I heard his story, a blast of light exploded in my brain. I restrained my internal excitement and acted as nonchalant before the group as I could. I simply said, "Oraldo, maybe I’ll go with you tomorrow to have a look and see what is going on with this thing." I hardly slept a wink that night.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at 5 am and were off at the first glitter of dawn. The walk through the primary rain forest was nothing less than spectacular. We walked over ground that was completely virgin. There had likely never been another soul that had ever walked that way. There were colorful birds and animals everywhere that I had never seen before. There were sounds that kind of freaked me out. The howler monkeys made it sound like we were under an alien attack.
The hours passed as we wandered through different environments that were quite surreal to me. I had never even dreamed that such landscapes existed on earth. I was awestruck and excited as we got closer and closer to our objective.
Finally, Oraldo said, "This is where I first started seeing gold in my pan yesterday." We stopped and he quickly worked down his first pan of the day. Sure enough, a beautiful, one-half inch line of gold appeared along the edge of his completed batea (wooden gold pan). There was very little black sand.
I was pretty amazed at how much fine gold there was in such a small stream. The water was only 6-inches deep and the stream only 3-feet wide. Where was all of this gold coming from?
We walk another 100 yards or so. Oraldo said, "If you thought that last pan was interesting, you should see the gold right here!"
I quietly replied, "Well, let’s have a look Oraldo." Secretly, I was nearly trembling with anticipation.
Within about three minutes Oraldo stood up and showed me his results. This time, I could not hide my enthusiasm any longer. “Holy Mother of a Sacred Butterfly!” I shouted out (not my exact words).
The gold was unbelievable. There was about a quarter ounce of gold in this single pan! I nearly had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Then Oraldo’s face became more serious. He had a disappointed look on his face. He sadly reported, "This is nice and all, but unfortunately, there is no more gold beyond that rusty-looking boulder up stream."
I quickly looked upstream and, sure enough, I could see the large rock to which he referred. The very moment I saw that huge, rusty-looking, rock outcropping, I knew that I was about to have my mind blown...
I promise to finish this story next week. I have run out of time this morning and I want to get into enough detail with my story so that you fully understand my experience that day.
More importantly, I want to relate this experience of discovery to us and our daily lives. I want to chat with you about how to set things up in our lives to be able to make important, semi-life-rocking discoveries on a regular basis, in the field or even right at home!
For me, this is how life has to be lived. I know that I need to live in a frequent state of awe with constant, new discoveries that squeeze my adrenal glands dry.
I hope you have a great week and think a little bit more about my story. Better yet, if you could please share a “discovery experience” of your own in our Community Forum, that would certainly be greatly appreciated.
Next week I’ll finish this story. It will end in a very surprising way!