Claim Jumpin’

Claim jumpin’ doesn’t just happen in John Wayne westerns, like North to Alaska. It’s a lot closer to home than that. It’s running riot in Sapphire and spreading over the gem fields nearby.

The curious weekend prospector meanders out to the mid-west and after buying a license, digs around near a dried up creek bed and finds a flash of colour. And then some more. His interest is tweaked and so he figures it’s time to stake a claim. That’s a 600 square meter plot of dirt that he is free to stick a tent on, or a caravan or anything that is demountable. Nothing permanent mind you. Or that’s the rule anyway. And some figure rules are made to be broken. So for the price of a fortnight’s grocery bill, the eager prospector can stay on the land in his makeshift home and live in hope for that day when he strikes it rich.

But not everyone is happy with their own claim. Someone has struck a seam that has more colour than his. And that’s when things can get pretty ugly. Claim jumpin’ starts happenin’. Empty plots with no residents on site, become a target, especially if there’s a mine shaft and tools lying around just begging for dusting off. Keep Out signs won’t hinder the eager intruder. But claim jumpers need to beware. Dark, damp unused mines are an invitation for frogs and guess what eats frogs out west? Yep, king browns are not the kind of guest a free loading prospector wants to run into underground. Best to drop a rock down first to find out who else is home.

Claim Jumpin’ is not just happening in the gem fields of Central Queensland. We all have a bit of a claim jumpin’ spirit in us don’t we? Perhaps we can say its greed, discontentment or envy. Whatever we call it, it can get pretty ugly when it’s on show. Claim jumpin’ is about losing sight of the blessing we have and wanting someone else’s instead. What we have is not enough, and we won’t be content until we have more. Or will we? Claim jumpers are not satisfied. Ever. The eyes of men and women have never been full in all of antiquity, why do we think we will be any different?

Claim jumpin’ stops abruptly when we cease looking out there at others stuff and begin counting the blessings right in front of us. Today. Now. Always. The gem field’s claim jumper is after more. More sapphires, more rubies, more. But there are more than enough just waiting to be enjoyed right in his own backyard. And ours. If we will only look.

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