Gold panning was awesome this morning. At first, it looked like it might rain, but this did not stop workshop participants from wanting to take advantage of a Vermont day on the Brewster, especially if it meant experiencing a bit of gold fever.
Smugglers Notch Resort produced a spur-of-the moment video clip while we panned, earlier this week. It was fun to see the activity from a different perspective. It is clear that participants are there to enjoy and share a great experience, and while a bit of the gold fever competitiveness may lurk in the background – and it is all part of the fun – it is probably safe to bet that the atmosphere is far more playful than it was for the gold prospectors of the 19th century. Learning and savoring the moment were probably not high on their priorities list. It is good to think that we live in a place and time when we can partake of such an activity for pure pleasure, and especially with a spirit of sharing.
Meanwhile, at the shop, projects continue to overlap and evolve at the workbench. This is tedious work and to be honest at times it can play tricks on one’s moods. Customers may walk in just when a particular piece is finally falling into place and you find yourself torn between keeping your focus on a small victory and the desire to mingle and to acknowledge the visitors. Of course, the answer is always easy: Mingle. Visitors are those specks of gold that suddenly appear and bring a bright spot to the day.
“It can get pretty intense sometimes,” admits Silvio. “You put so much attention on turning that piece on the bench exactly into what you see clearly in your mind. When people come in, you have to shift your focus almost instantly. This is good.”
It is said that creativity is at its best when it can rest from itself, and Silvio finds this to be true every single day. “That is an impressive gold chain,” notes a recent visitor after asking Silvio if she could see it up close. “It is impressive,” agrees Silvio, “I grew up in France, where I was used to this quality of gold. I think I was spoiled.” They laugh.
“May I try this ring,” she then asks, pointing at one of the largest ones from an estate collection Silvio is selling for a friend. “You have long fingers. Very large and heavy rings can be uncomfortable for fine hands,” offers Silvio. He might have sold a large ring that day, but honesty and fairness have far more value.
The conversation shifted. The couple had been to Nice, Silvio’s home town. The man had lived in France as a child. Silvio may never see these people again, or it will be rare for them to cross paths again, but it takes only one instant away from the bench, a few moments immersed in coming face to face with others, to weave a thread of gold that changes the course of everything somehow, and always for good.