To be honest, I didn't think that touring a sapphire mine on Christmas Day sounded very appealing. In fact, as we descended into the pitch dark mine shaft in a growling, diesel fume-belching, dirt-hauling machine, I panicked. Looking back, I saw the entrance and light get smaller and farther away and said, "I need to get out."
I figured I could just walk back out and wait in the light for everyone else to get out. Luckily, one of my cousins and an old-timer miner, Lou, got out with me and basically forced me to walk in. So we let the machine go ahead and then walked on in with just some flashlights to push back the black. At first, all I noticed was that we were going hundreds of feet underground into a damp, dark, dirty, dank, silent hole in the earth. You know that sort of sinking feeling of going into whatever black hole it is that you are looking down? That's sort of what I felt like. And then the miner started pointing out the vein that holds the sapphires.
And, just think, if it were not for our flashlights, this
The smell of the earth was actually clean and fresh. And there was a snow white, fluffy fungus that looked so delicate growing on the mine shaft floor.
A whole underground world right there under me feet—like an inverted reality. I have been through these mountains so many times before, but never imagined all this existing underneath my feet—and it is actually incredibly beautiful.
In a way, it's a lot how this year has been. Sometimes, looking down into the darkness, I have thought just get me out of here. But then, you go on, someone takes your arm points out something, you look a little more closely and think, Hey, this is beautiful too.
And then walking out, the light is so bright. (That's my handsome husband.)
I think we might have a new family tradition. Thanks Lou, you were a great guide.