Searching for Gold

I read a story the other day, a true life survival story about a guy who went into the Aussie Outback searching for gold. This is a modern day story, not some settler tale of yesteryear. Anyway the guy managed to get separated from his buddies and lost his way. He had no radio (stupid of him he admitted) and his usual ability to rely on the sun was thwarted as the sun was blocked out by unusual dense cloud. As he tried to retrace his steps he became more and more lost, he was unknowingly moving further and further away from the friends who were searching for him. He spent the first night lying down on the red sandy earth trying to sleep in snatches and walking around trying to keep himself warm. He spotted search planes a few times the next day but for some reason no matter how much he waved and jumped and shouted they didn’t see him. He hadn’t realised that as he’d laid down on the red earth it had stuck to the sweat on his shirt and skin and so from the air he looked as red as the ground around him.

He tried to put all his instincts to use but there was little he could do, knowing he could not survive without water in the intense heat of the day and that the plummeting night time temperatures put him at another risk as did the night time animals that stalked the area looking for prey. Finally on the third night, after he should have been dead from dehydration, sun exposure, hypothermia or an animal attack he settled down to sleep, knowing and accepting that he would not wake up again. Suddenly he spotted some lights in the distance, he mustered all his strength to get to the lights which were miles away but glowing from a hill top across the wide expanse of flat desert.

Eventually, no one knows how, he made it to the lights laid out by a local Aboriginal group who had been helping in the search for the guy to hopefully guide him home. Trackers had lost the trail but they were certain that if they lit the fires on higher ground in the area they did that he would see them, they were confident that he was in that area, as he was.

When he staggered to the guys on watch, sitting on a jeep the first thing they gave him was a bottle of water which he drank down like the man dying of thirst that he was.

He said “To think, there I had been searching for riches, searching for gold, risking my life when all the time I had something worth more than gold, I had riches beyond measure at home, flowing out of a tap in my kitchen. Never again did I feel I wanted more in life than what I already had, I knew that without that precious resource that flowed into my home there would be no life and yet I often ignored it and had taken it for granted. Nothing else mattered, as long as I had that I was a wealthy man already. Every morning when I wake up I head straight to my kitchen for a drink of water and every morning I thank God for life and water and I remind myself of the fortunate man that I am”.

Water… drink it, don’t take it for granted, we need it for life.