Prospecting is movement in search of space. It is a nomad’s way.
From this day forth
I shall be called a wanderer
Leaving on a journey
Thus among the early showers
You will again sleep night after night
Nestled among the flowers of sasnqua.
At the La Turquesa granite boulder campsite she finds more points. In one bands of burgundy cross-cut the white quartz. It lay in the roadbed exposed by the passage of vehicles and cows. How long has this been a camping place where people seek shelter, food, water? Are we reverting, the prospector wonders.
Prospecting along the pediment of the range, they come across a hot springs, are low down out of the wind. Immediately she finds fine-grained chert-like flakes…argillite? She looks ardently for worked pieces, ones that have been handled, touched, altered by the hands of skilled toolmakers. The cows like this place, too. In the background from the corners of her eyes she hears him hammering upslope: breaking rock over here, over there, moving around. She slows down gathering a handful of worked pieces.
Who came here years ago? She imagines the spring bubbling in the barrenness of landscape. Imagines that they came to make tools, weapons, to gather pigments. After cleansing to decorate their bodies for battle, for hunting, for parties.
She gathers diligently, then selects two pieces, leaving the others where they fall moved by her interference. One piece is a core from which flakes for working were struck; the other is a flake fractured from a core. Neither is finely-worked or finished; both were altered by skilled hands. To her they are objects of beauty, of mystery, connections to the past, representing the moment they came from, the moment she stands in, the place she wants to go to.
Prospecting is the oldest profession. Finding flakes, points, the remnants and detritus of toolmaking, rock altered by the skilled hands of toolmakers, in places where stone circles remain, where hot springs precipitated, is a reminder that humans have always made use of rocks, have always paused in places where there are rocks of economic value. Humans have always been prospectors.
Prospecting is a going back there, an entrance into that world…a reconnection with, a never leaving of…There is no substitute for walking the ground, moving over and through it, touching its surface with eyes and soles. Translating the energy from the core, from the center through the shoulder, along the arm, through the bones, transferring the momentum to the hammer, striking with force to reveal the chemistry, the content, the possibilities of the rock.
The incentive, the profit motive, is driven by passion. The passion is the antidote to pain, to illusion, to suffering, to aloneness. The economic incentive is merely an excuse to be out there, under the sun, under the sombrero, under the volcano. Hammer in hand. Pack on the back. Within it, a litre of water laced with Tang to temper the alkaline taste, a small knife, an eyedropper bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid, a handful of crackers and toilet paper, clothes discarded as the day heats up. Wind flows in the arroyos, across the plains, through the canyons.
It is enough to be moving following a watercourse on the trail of float rock.
The essence of prospecting is detecting dispersed material and understanding the mechanism of dispersion and tracing the material back to its source. (From the personal library of Patrick J. Burns, Geologist)
The eyes settle down on the surface scanning the foreground in a Carlos Castenedas way so that the body feels afloat, forgets the weight of the pack, its stickiness, the heat of the sun on forearms and nape of neck, the hotness of leather boots.
Movement is the essence of prospecting. By movement, the receiving and accepting of experience, being aware, taking a chance, putting oneself in a place where anything might happen, being exposed, standing on a slope eyes scanning the space below, across, above. Experience is created.
Movement is elevation above the surface. A surface is still, a guide directing the path. Movement is action. In action, there is freedom: freedom from constraints of words that capture and hold thoughts, make them concrete, solid, walls of brick adobe stone twigs logs glass clay sand. Lines, the abstract elements of words, contain and capture movement, freeze it into an instant of time. Movement passes through time, past time, beyond time. Time can be counted. Distance is related to time. Movement though cannot be measured.
Movement is eternal energy surpassing the concreteness of time, the measure of time. It is life. To cease to move is to die, to become merely mass, globular blobular cellular structure.
Movement is the reaction of the mind to thought. It is ephemeral, unconscious, involuntary, of its own volition. It cannot be recorded. It cannot be grasped.
Movement requires the senses. It is not necessary to think but simply to move using the involuntary unconscious space of mind, to act in good faith, to believe that in movement all will be known. To use the senses is to become natural, to become who you were at birth.
Movement is birth. A tunnel, a passage, a journey outward: simple gestures capturing the beauty and truth of the space within which you reside. You are a resident of space…
NEXT WEEK: The Art of Prospecting: A Long Walk Over Uneven Ground…Space