One day, when I was staying out near Bendigo with Karoline and Peter, I took the dogs for a walk. We turned off the main road down an unpaved side track through the meadows. The sandy earth underfoot glittered in the bright Australian sunshine. When I bent down to take a closer look I saw that the whole road was flecked with gold.
Bendigo was at the centre of the 1851 gold rush, so it didn’t seem impossible to me that there could be real gold in the soil here. The dogs waited patiently while I scratched at the golden flakes with a stick. It was almost impossible to lift them whole from the ground. I managed to press a few onto the palm of my hand and walked home, carefully sheltering them from the wind. Even so, I lost a couple of the larger flakes to a rogue gust. It caught them in an unguarded moment while I stared at them, bedazzled, dreaming about what I would spend my fortune on.
When I showed them to Peter, he said they were most likely iron pyrite, otherwise known as fool’s gold. I scraped them off my hand into the pages of a notebook and forgot about them.
Just the other day I heard a report on the radio that experts are predicting that there could be millions of ounces of undiscovered gold in farmland north of Bendigo. Maybe I wasn’t so foolish after all to go scraping in the dust for a few golden flakes. I’ll be darned if I can find them now, though.