After the gold rush

By Toni Kief



Toni Kief

I was born with the mountains as they rose from the sea. ​​ Ever so slowly, I carry them home a grain at a time, so they can eventually rise again. ​​ This is the forever cycle since before the ancients. ​​ I flow west to join the sea then become rain to return to the land. ​​ In my journey, I feed the trees and slake the thirst of the wilds of nature’s family. ​​ All is in harmony, a balanced ballet of cooperation.

Witnessing the inevitability of birth and death, I roll on. Ebbing and flowing with the cycle of seasons; I am the river the lifeblood of the earth.​​ 

In my long existence, I meet new creatures and share my abundance. ​​ One day, not that long ago, a two-legged beast appeared. ​​ They drank and bathed from my banks with joy as they celebrated the bounty I supply. ​​ One sunny, lazy day the new animal noticed an element, not more than a pebble that reflected the sun. It was from the mountains on its trek west. ​​ His excitement was unanticipated as he emitted a noise and danced splashing in my existence. ​​ 

I felt surprised as their numbers grew with every sunrise. ​​ How can there be so many of them? The new breed became like a virus, dangerous and determined. ​​ The celebration was replaced with greediness as they broke down my banks with their heavy boots and shovels. ​​ Their chaotic emotions took over as they dug relentlessly, tearing my bed, fouling my treasure. ​​ 

Soon a city is built, and they pipe away my substance, only to return it fouled and muddy. They showed no honor and fished beyond need. ​​ It felt as if they are trying to strip away my pride with their voraciousness and defecation. ​​ They shared only a singular self-involved focus, no respect for the primordial rhythm of the life.​​ 

We of nature have no understanding of the utter destruction for a single element. ​​ They have stripped away trees, stole the shade and left nothing to hold the soil. I am forced into culverts and pipes by a single species so self- involved they massacre my animals and destroy their homes. They have poisoned my water to the extent that I can no longer enrich any living creature. Another step too far, I watch them murdering each other for a singular craving.

They don’t understand the real measure of time, I will continue on, resolute in drought and powerful with rain. ​​ I slowly gather my strength knowing the gravity of my task. ​​ Not today, but soon, I will sweep the last of the intruder away swimming in their own toxic sludge, back​​ to the bosom of the sea where it all began. ​​ Washed clean in the rain, I will return to the beginning of the journey, eroding and building in true harmony.​​ 

About The Author

Toni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, with two others in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.