Well, it wasn’t an actual gold mine, but it was close enough and would prove more useful, because in times of need when markets stopped trading or demand plummeted, you could not turn around and eat gold. You can make teeth, necklaces, and earrings out of gold, but you can’t feed your children on the shiny stuff.
What Archie MacKinnon discovered was a shellfish unlike any other.
A shellfish so succulent that even after feasting on them tide after tide and season after season, you can still hear the excitement in the seabirds that feverishly peck through the sand searching for them. It’s a marvellous sight to behold, and as Archie stood there he realised for the first time that something special was happening, and it was as though the birds were musical notes, and the rippling tides, as they rhythmically ebbed and flowed, were fluid musical bars that the birds danced along, making beautiful tunes. Some of the birds would hurriedly chase one way, their little legs spinning like the dickens, whilst others would hop around doing circles in another spot, and always they would call to one another and it was like they were singing, ‘there’s more over here! Come along, these ones are even tastier! Hurry!’ And some would float contentedly along the shore’s edge, happy for a moment, then swoop up and come diving down to have a little peck and go back to bopping along the water’s edge. And always the rhythm of the tide would continue, moment after moment, day after day, year after year. It was like an unending piece of music, the likes of which no orchestra could duplicate.
Archie could never explain what had made him stop and stare. He just had and that was that. But he could explain what he started thinking as he watched the tide recede and witnessed seabird after seabird chasing along the water’s edge. He’d thought, ‘My God! There must be something tremendous down there! Something magnificent! If those beautiful creatures are so enraptured, then heaven’s to be, so will we! And, by God, there must be an enormous amount of whatever it is, because it looks like those birds burn a lot of energy!’