Old Gold


I used to live in Tapia de Casariego. It is a quiet fishing village on the North coast of Spain. In the port, a few fishing boats share the calm waters with sport crafts, brought here by summer visitors. During the summer months the village goes through a slow metamorphosis. Day after day houses are re-filled and windows let the fresh but humid air in again. Cafes and restaurants reopen timidly, unable to shake off the smell of dump.

Autumn will come, and the transformation will reverse. Back into its cocoon, the village will be walked again by known faces. It has always been like this.

Inland, rugged farmers on their slow moving tractors take care of maize fields. In the sea, the few fisherman left still walk down to the port in the early hours. And out into the sea.

A motorway crosses through the corn fields, manoeuvring to leave the farm houses alone. It is mostly deserted after the Summer ends. Only locals use it to cross to the neighbouring region on the other side of the estuary.

During the winter months time becomes part of the landscape here. It somehow wraps around everything and you cannot escape it. You are always conscious of its presence.

And there is The Old Gold.

Ancient gold buried under meters and meters of rock. We cannot see it, but we all know it is there. The Romans came here one summer 2,000 years ago to take some of the gold out. They enslaved the locals to take it out for them. Six tons of it. When the Romans left, the gold went back to obscurity. Two thousand years, one after another, until someone thought of the gold again. These new "Romans" came from Canada, they say.

The gold just waits there under the soil and the rocks and the water flowing from the fields. It is worthless. But take it out of its depths, and everything changes. The village is ruptured by the future promises of this Old Gold. The New Romans promise jobs, and wealth, and a new life. Some see the opportunities underneath their feet, others see dirt and lies. We are split by the gold.

For many years the fight of words has been going on. Sometimes things get quieter, buried, as if everyone has had enough of it, but it eventually returns to the surface, even though The Old Gold is still deep down and undisturbed as it has been for 2,000 years. It hasn't moved a bit. But we can feel its pressure now.

Create your website for free!