Tuesday. Mr. B sent a link to Mercury Rising: Dealing With the Dark Legacy of the Gold Rush, a story of his that's recently been published on YubaNet.com, describing the mercury, arsenic and asbestos waste from the California Gold Rush that lies in wait for the unwary in the dams, lakes and rivers of the Sierras. Don writes a series called Becoming California on California Gold Rush history for Nevada County Gold The Official Online Guide to Nevada County and is the author of It Came From Citrus Heights which he wrote and was published (the swine) when he was older than I am right now at this very moment (the swine). Mr. B and I have known one another for quite some time.
You wonder how much “crap” you've inhaled-ingested over the course of your life. Living, as I do, something like a thousand feet from a freeway, how much exhaust particulate does that mean I inhale every day? Does it count that I grew up (for my first twelve years) far outside a major city in the middle of a second growth forest where most things that put stuff into the atmosphere have been around since mankind began? I suspect those five years I smoked cigarettes in my thirties overshadows any and all of this, but who knows? I'm older than the younger I ever thought I might become and every new day in some real sense is a favor, this aching head-sinus condition but the merest ripple in a very large pond.
Living here in Oakland, of course, I'm probably situated over an old mercury laced mountain of mine tailings, something the owner of my building is unwilling to mention, one of many things on her list of things she doesn't want to discuss with her tenants: particularly that bit about the earthquake upgrades that were never done. I mean, this is Oakland: murders, mercury and mayhem every day on every corner (keeps the price of housing down). Now we learn the Sierras have been toxic since those first miners came from over the mountains to pan for gold and run the native Americans and Mexicans out of town.