While I've spent the last 17 years of my life in the beautiful state of Michigan, I was raised in the equally stunning state of Arkansas, which has more than one claim to fame. It is not only the quartz crystal capital of the world, but home to the Crater of Diamonds State Park. And I got the opportunity to partake in both those wonders recently when I returned there to visit family. And, for a while at least, I got to pretend I was striking it rich!
It was just as glorious as I remember as a child.
Now, don't get me wrong. The Crater of Diamonds is literally a crater.... of dirt.... almost 38 acres of dirt, situated above a (now thankfully quiet) volcano. But, within those piles of pebbles, more than 30 diamonds were discovered by patrons in the month of April alone, and more than 75,000 since the park began! Okay, not everyone scored it with a 7.44 carat diamond like Kalel Langford found this March (after only 30 minutes of dirt-digging, I might add), but it's about the process, right?
For $10, you get to spend a day digging in some dirt, and if that doesn't bring you back to childhood, I don't know what will. While we searched for a place to settle, with our spades and sifters, we meet a couple who'd been digging in the same spot for three days straight. We read signs about the biggest park diamond finds, some requiring holes as deep as 9 feet! Though we were definitely neither that prepared, nor that dedicated, we were happy with our two square feet of dirt.
For about 45 minutes.
Okay, so apparently I lack the patience of my youth. My 7 year old niece was starting to fidget and the dirt was no longer cutting it. The sun was beating down and my entire body began to bloom a beautiful (but deadly) shade of red. So, off we went on our two-hour drive home.
But not without scoring some quartz!
I may not have helped my niece find a diamond, but I can definitely buy a box of dirt and bury some tumbled semi-precious stones and diamond-cut quartz so she can still experience the wonder of discovery. And, if nothing else, I still remember the yellow diamond I found at the crater in my youth.
Which I then dropped in the dirt, because.... bees. Sigh.
But it's about the process! And family. And friends. And 45 blissfully sunburned minutes in nature.
I have to say it was an excellent trip.
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