(Slings and arrows...)
As you well know, there are quite a few slings and arrows being cast at small-scale gold miners here in the United States these days. New bureaucratic stumbling blocks and the bitter sting of special interest groups are part and parcel of this trend, but that doesn't mean all is lost by any stretch. It just means things got harder for all of us.
What They Don't Get
You know, difficulties of any sort never kept the old timers from going for the gold. Granted, the concept of freedom in both the personal and the mining senses was much more well-defined in days past, but we're living in a different time and place currently. Call it natural progression or call it infringement on your God-given rights...it really doesn't matter as long as you keep certain ideas alive. Freedom encompasses many things and yes, your personal freedoms can be taken away from you, but in the end no one or no thing can take away your spirit and the freedom that's in your heart and mind. That's what all the bureaucrats and special interests don't understand, as well as all the nefarious kings, queens, emperors, politicians, and dictators that made (and still make) things tough for the folks living under them. In the end, they can take away your suction dredge or your motorized highbanker but they'll never add you to their ranks nor will they ever remove that independent spirit that burns deep within you.
Better Things to Do
Mining's no bed of roses and miners are not perfect people by any stretch. But I'd rather plop my skinny ass down on an upturned five-gallon bucket and listen to an old timer spin questionable yarns about the "good ol' days" of mining any day than sit in some air-conditioned auditorium with 10,000 other sheep listening to a dead-beat politico making promises that he or she is never going to keep. Nor do I care to hear the latest tirade from some arrogant, self-righteous "environmentalist" who wants to save the world from destruction but can't even save himself from ruin in the long run. Nope, I have better things to do and small-scale gold mining is one of them.
(I'd rather hear what he has to say than any dozen politicians.)
One of the main things that drew me to small-scale mining (aside from that beautiful yellow metal) was the independent nature of the whole deal. That was nigh 37 years ago now but my feelings haven't changed in that regard. Get out in the great outdoors, wet or dry, mountains or deserts, and get some gold? I'm your man, anytime, anywhere. I've always been an independent sort, sometimes to an extreme. I don't like crowds and I don't care a damn bit for BSers, posturers, arrogant pricks, know-it-alls, blowhards, equipment thieves, claim scammers, or general n'er-do-wells of any sort. That's the nice thing about small-scale gold mining though. I've run across my fair share of these negative influences elsewhere in my life, but very few in mining circles. Sure, some are out there, but most of the people I've met, mined with, or communicated with about small-scale mining are real gems as far as being people is concerned. That says something of significance about those who are drawn to and remain with small-scale gold mining. Like anyone else, I have my weaknesses and human frailties, but the bottom line is that I'm a damn good person who always tries to do the right thing and who is honest, forthright, considerate, and generous with what I have, be that time or money. That description fits most of you out there to a "T" as well. So what's not to like?
(...while others are simply vexations to your spirit.)
The overall idea I'm trying to project here is that you should always be proud and stand tall. Let no one or no thing prevent you from realizing your fullest potential, be that personally or mining-wise. You are a standard bearer at the head of that ancient Roman Legion, marching forward into the fray with resolution and inner strength, head held high and your gaze unwavering. You are a distinct individual following in the footsteps of all those old timers who preceded you, myself included. Now you're making your own footsteps along the path of small-scale gold mining and should be providing a shining example to others, especially those new to this thing of ours. Take satisfaction in knowing that you carry forward a great tradition and a great time to be had, despite the difficulties inherent in what we do.
(Pass your knowledge along.)
The powers-at-be can screw with us all they want but guess what? They'll never break us nor will they ever stop us from going for the gold, even if we have to wage guerilla warfare on their smug asses. Keep the dream alive for yourself and for others. Your knowledge cries out to be passed along to those just starting out on this path, so be generous with what you know and with what you have.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org