Gold Panning

gold panning at pedros-creek, near Fairbanks, Alaska.
gold panning at pedros-creek, near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Don’t forget the dusky red garnet
the ephemeral flicker of yellow pyrite
the flash of silver as the water recedes

nor the purple mist of crystal clusters
pinkish amethyst clinging to quartz
the copper nugget conducting the light

nor how the river runs
how it settles then bends carrying weathered feldspar
stream-rolled jade and crimson cinnabar

indigo octahedral fluorite
like Saturn’s rings  this orbicular diuorite
in the tumbling stream

see the way they all roll in black sand together
scooped from the river bank in the sun
a halo of pigments as you swill the pan

and tip them away
so eager for gold and its flickering rays
while the world in a rainbow lay in your hands.

Orbicular diorite. © Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Pyrite. Source:
Octahedral Fluorite. Source:
Cinnabar. Source: Wikipedia.
Gold dredge coco mats to collect sand and gold, subsequently retorted. © angelajanehoward
Dredge stone crusher – behind are the riffles to collect quicksilver and gold

Note: 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.