Miner Claim:
Shiloh Cannon-Blackburn

Alluvial gold collected by John Youngson in the Matakanui area. The fine gold in the background comes from remnants of 20-million-year-old gravels. The coarser nuggets come from young gravels, less than one-million-years-old. The nuggets (largest on is nearly 1 cm across) have formed when groundwater in the gravels dissolved the small grains and deposited the gold again on larger grains nearby. In this way, larger grains keep growing, and smaller grains disappear.

I haven't visited the Soul Food Cafe in months. At least, not in depth. So, on a whim to see where it took me I entered the Cafe the other day, looking for a writing opportunity. Specifically, a project which would develop my writing even more, creating in the interim, an evolving piece that would grow and morph the more I work and add onto it till I feel the project is done.

I don't remember my exact path that led me to the Alluvial Mine of Soul Food Cafe. That's part of the wonder of that cafe, you see. You can enter it any number of times and always end up somewhere different. You can unwrap a chocolate, ride on the Magic Writing Tram, sit at the Crime Baron's Table and tell a tale worthy of Hitchcock himself, or you can romance the ruins and much more. (Plus, my path was winding and often retraced itself.)

The very idea, or analogy, to this alluvial mine of my subconscious and inner voices intrigued me when I came upon it. I have felt, for a little while now, that though I am good at writing my skills haven't been improved upon in quite some time. And it's time. I know I can be better; I want to be better. I want to be the best I can.

So I was thrilled, or at least interested, to find this project. I am always interested to learn new facets of myself: to find new strengths, new foibles (in which to overcome), new passions and talents and pet peeves. The alluvial gold then, of course, in this instance is what I come up with when I prepare to mine and then finally dig deep below the surface.

I am excited to begin this project, to see what emerges over time. To see what changes and develops in me. The web mistress of Soul Food Cafe writes of this particular mine,

"By far the largest area of the mind, the subconscious, is built up with associated sense impressions and memories dating back to the womb. This submerged area of mentation is the creative part of the mind, a wonderland of mystery. According to Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, it is the area which contains a summary and reservoir of race, memory and accumulated skills. It is the submerged part which is the powerhouse from which radiates the most illuminating inspirations of artistic genius. It is synonymous with Mnemosyne, goddess of memory and mother of the Muses." She often writes of and refers to the nine Muses who inspire art, science, music, dance and literature.

And, as you just read, this project is no different. The Muses are very real to her, and we are advised (those of us who take on a project or follow a suggestion) to follow our instincts, go wherever our whims (or personal Muse) takes us. We are also advised to keep coming back, until we have followed every link and are prepared to go below the surface.

Tomorrow, I will begin my preparation for starting and mining the Shiloh Alluvial Mine. It's too late now and my mind's tired...heck, I'm tired! I wanna be fresh when I do this. Plus, before I did the first exercise, I wanted to be sure I understood the term "alluvial"--me and my inherent curiosity again.

* "Alluvial gold occurs as loose particles in the gravel, and is therefore easy to separate because of the high density of the gold... A wide variety of techniques have been tried over time, but all techniques focus on water-washing of the gold-bearing gravel in some way."

Shiloh's Alluvial Mine

The Visitor
Finding Eldorado
Guardians of the Subterranean

The Alluvial Mine is the property of Heather Blakey and Miners who have generously shared their work. Please do not replicate any part of this mine without written permission.