This wild, cold, weekend my boy, Danny who’s twelve, and I, went on an adventure.
We searched for an old gold mine with steel doors, apparently blown off their hinges. We looked everywhere.
We found one, but it wasn’t it, there were no doors. But Dan had been to this mine before and he wanted to show me inside
It was, maybe, a hundred years old. Dug with pick and shovel, arch shaped all the way. We crept through, Dan telling me to watch out for the massive cave spiders. I could feel their webs sticking on to my back. The mine went for what seemed like forever into the hill until it branched off into three corridors. It was warm in there, but oppressively dark and claustrophobic for me.
Danny told me how a girl down the road, in her late teens now, rescued a young devil, trapped in this mine. The devil had fallen down a hole. I saw the hole, one hundred meters into the old mine, a deep dark hole that I couldn’t see the bottom of, with a path around it, leading off into darkness. She was his age at the time.
I forbid Danny to go anywhere near that hole, our torches were bad and we couldn’t really see the path too well.
Danny went on to tell me she lowered a basket down into that hole, managed to coax the Devil in, and pulled him up. Him or Her, actually I don’t know, but I will find out.
We left that mine and went off searching for the other one.
Apparently it was opposite a infamous landmark, in a gorge. Infamous for me because I had heard the story of a neighbours wife, long before i had moved to The Valley, who had driven her car to the top of the hill and never came down again. Danny doesn’t know that story.
We looked for the mine. We were looking for those big steel doors, once locked, now blown apart. We traversed up and down the gorge for two hours. Danny stopped me once and said ” thankyou dad ” for letting us do what we were doing…
It was snowing and cold.
The bush was dark and beautiful. We saw things we had never noticed before.
I noticed the way sun hit the waxy leaves of the sassafras and I remembered what it is like to be a boy…searching for hidden things. Having a secret place and secret stories, to share or no to share.
Funnily enough, I welcomed the forestry track, that was a line between the wild and the apocalyptic clear cut, because it was to take us back to the car before dark. As we walked back I wondered how Danny saw the world, being the one who was literally born a kilometre up the road. How much this place means to him, the wild, the tracks, her stories, his stories.
I let him use my camera and saw some of it. A possum, mummified to the track, obviously a victim of industrial poisoning in the name of progress. He still reckoned it looked cool.
And for me, I wondered where my head was at, it needed this type of day. It wasn’t planned but was perfect…Inspired to say the least, about a new project.
We never found the Steel Doors but it didn’t matter…