My gem is special beyond all worth, strong as any metal, or stone in the earth, sharp as any razor, or blade you can buy, bright as any laser, or any star in the sky.
Maybe once in a lifetime you hold one in your hand, once in a lifetime in this land where the journey ends in a worthless place, time and again in a mining game.
Yea, I dug up a diamond rare and fine, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine. Down in the darkness, in the dirt and the grime, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine.’
This song, from Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris’s “All the Roadrunning” album, makes a good anthem for those of us who grub our living out of the ground. We stone workers labor to lift something special from the earth. Our efforts are mainly brutish and blunt but we continue day by day in the belief that something beautiful will arise in the end. When it finally does, the light of what we’ve created shines briefly before for us. And then we must turn our backs and leave it all behind.
Soon I’ll be returning home to Vermont, but not before doing some sightseeing. The Danish landscape of low, rolling hills is intensely cultivated, allowing wide vistas dotted with ancient thatched cottages.