Almaden Quicksiver Mines.


I'm sitting in the shade, at a picnic table, with the ruins of an old cabin behind me. I have iced water with me, my iPhone, typing on my iPad.

To my left is an outcropping of serpentine. To my right, a eucalyptus tree. Down the hill is a rotary furnace, where men worked in the heat, extracting mercury from cinnabar. In front of me, Silicon Valley.

A few generations ago, there was a town here...well, around the bend, the ruins are still here.


There is no running water, no electricity. There is a church, a school, a barn. Down the hill...a cemetery. The cometary makes me sad. The thought of a woman, following a cart carrying a casket...a long, winding trail down the hill to a flat spot on the hill. This is a small cemetery, surrounded by a white picket fence. The gate is shut and the grass, like all the grass here this time of year is dry and crunchy. There are no grave markers.

No grave markers. Because the family of a miner couldn't afford it? Because nobody wanted to carry stone up the hill? Maybe there used to be wooden markers that have long since rotted away...

Above me...turkey vultures.

Around the bend, down the hill is a geocache. If I find it, it's my first one.


(yes, I did find it)

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