The Art of Falling

Linda Schmidtgall is the new President of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club.  A little bit ago she wrote a story about her experiences with falling which was published in the September WCGMC newsletter.   With permission I republish here.

Rockhounds have to learn how to fall.  It is actually very important to do it with grace.  BUT you do want to make sure someone is watching or you will waste a good fall.  It seems I take at least one great trip down a hill or something every year.  A few I recall are:

A couple years ago on April 1 at the Ace of Diamonds it was snowing but there we were looking for diamonds.  We found lots of crystals only to have them melt between our fingers.    It was a mineral for a second. Anyway, I was standing on top of the pile and people were talking about what they had found.  I dug in my pocket and pulled out my pieces to show but at the same moment I lost my balance and went headfirst down the hill on the rocks……everyone gasped.  But in a flash I popped up and outstretched my hand; I still had all my diamonds.  No marbles perhaps, but that is another story.

Our club editor caught me climbing this mountain of ice, dirt, dolostone, and diamonds at Ace of Diamonds, but fortunately he did not have his camera out when I fell off it head first! Boy, the sky was sure blue that fine morning.

A year or so later we were coming out of the Bush farm in Gouverneur, NY (a tourmaline site we like to visit) and as usual I was carrying a heavy backpack.  We were trying to traverse a cow pasture where cows had made deep hoof prints in the mud.  I didn’t make it.  As I fell my backpack slipped up  onto my  head  and  I  was stuck.  I yelled to my two companions to help me.  I was laughing so hard because my only fear was if my face was in a cow plop.  I was lucky this time; it was only mud.

Last fall at just after 5:OO AM several of us were packing a van in anticipation of heading off into the darkness for another adventure (all the way to Arkansas actually).  I turned around in my excitement and tripped over my own suitcase.  I went flat on my face.  As usual I had a nice audience and they came to my rescue.  I banged my knee but that was not going to end my trip.   We had a great time and I got my share of Arkansas quartz, Tennessee crinoids and North Carolina kyanite.

Of course sometimes one can get a little help causing the fall.  While standing next to another collector who was doing some sort of a demonstration, he accidentally started to lose his balance and he fell into me.  He then caught his balance but there was no hope for me.  I tried to fall as gracefully as possible but what can you do in 2 seconds.  I did again though, have a great audience.  The perpetrator of my fall and another collector quickly got me to my feet.  A few bandages later I was back to filling my bucket with rocks.  He was so apologetic and I reassured him that it was an accident…..but HE WILL hear from my attorney.  Tee Hee   I could buy a lot of rocks then.     Well, we are still collecting together.  I just stand a little farther away but not too far.  I still have to have my audience the next time I go down.

Fred Haynes:  OK, I will fess up.  It is I who knocked Linda down last April on the ridge above the Mt. Pleasant Mills Quarry in Pennsylvania.  I slipped and reached out to regain my balance and bumped into her and she fell!  There was blood and bandaids and I get reminded routinely of my role in this event.  But I am innocent of any involvement in those other falls.  And I have not yet heard from her attorney.  I think the statute of limitations has passed.

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