GOLD PANNING?

By Annie Shepherd for The Parisian Post.

at Pedros Creek…
Gold dredge coco mats to collect sand and gold, subsequently retorted

The price of gold has soared spectacularly over the last 5 years, pushed up by investors and some governments as a hedge to shelter their wealth as economies falter. In Paris, you can exchange your gold jewelry for cash at the Credit municipal de Paris…. Or you can try different jewelers, but there are scams. So how about panning for gold? There’s nothing more honest than geology. I’ve been panning in Pedro’s Creek, north of Fairbanks, Alaska – Felix Pedro/Felice Pedroni was an Italian prospector whose discovery of gold sparked the early 1900s Fairbanks gold rush. You dig into the banks on the bend in the creek – you need to know your rivers, how they behave, where they shed which minerals, and why. Swilling the stones and sediment in your pan, the heavier minerals settle at the bottom. The heaviest of all? Gold. But there’s value in other things, too….

Fluorite

And what about the dusky red garnet
the ephemeral flicker of yellow pyrite
the flash of silver as the water recedes
or the copper nugget conducting the light?
What about how the river runs
how it rushes and swirls, settles and bends
carrying stream-rolled jade, the purple mist
of crystal clusters – the pinkish amethyst
clinging to quartz and weathered fieldspar.
Or – mixed in mercury – the ruby red cinnabar,
the indigo octaphedral fluorite,
the stream’s shifting moods, its unseen delights
the orbicular diorite all in a swirl
like Saturn’s rings, like this tumbling stream
or the base of your pan as they roll in a dream
scooped from the river bank in the sun
a halo of pigments as you swill the pan
eager for one tiny pinprick of gold
which isn’t there, so you throw all away
the jade shades of green, the quartz untold
rainbows reflecting the stream’s generous soul
ignored by all in their rush and greed
yet such stunning variety bypasses all.

Orbicular diorite
Dredge stone crusher_ riffles behind to collect quicksilver and gold

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Did you know?

The Limousin region in France has had two gold rushes, the first during the Roman period, and the second in the first half of the 20th century. More recently, 40 tonnes of the precious metal were mined by Areva in this region between 1982 and 2002. Gold is thinly distributed throughout France, the Pyrenees, the southeastern edge of the Massif Central (Cevennes) and the Massif Amoricain. À vos batées!

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copyright © 2012 Annie Shepherd all rights reserved


Contact Annie Shepherd  for more of her published poetry, including  her collection “Jostled by Ghosts”.  Click here for a free pdf copy of her satirical poems written for The Parisian Post during the 2012 presidential elections.

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