There are a million stories here, some told and re-told and some that crossed the ground only once along with the people that carried them. One of my favorites is about Stray Dog Bob, a collie mix who showed up around the time the mines were booming and allegedly bestowed good fortune wherever he happened to turn up. The miners would lay out steaks and stitch tiny elaborate bedrolls nicer than their own in hopes of luring Bob to their camp. There’s a 1906 newspaper article about an elderly woman found wandering delirious in the high desert, near death but in the company of a huge collie who guarded her closely and attacked anyone that tried to come near. A stray dog actually did chase me down the road here, and was called off by a rather feral ten-year-old kid on a dirt bike who explained their dogs don’t like outsiders and then apologetically showed me some sights.
It’s amazing to me that the deposition of precious metals on the earth’s surface has been a long-running mystery, and that our most accepted theory is that we were peppered with them from space by a series of asteroids. A continent was crossed, towns rose and fell, rails were laid and prostitutes were lavishly decorated by our steadfast obsession with some gleaming sky gravel. It’s said that the total amount of gold mined worldwide would measure 20 meters square, and our entire system of buying and selling things – food, clothing, shelter, more shiny rocks, our limited time on earth – has been consensually based on this one cube the size of a backyard until just before my lifetime.