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Trina Machacek: Exploring vs. trespassing

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

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That “free will” thingy that we all have within us is really something. I like my free will. It lets me choose to have the salad or the ice cream. It makes it possible to choose to watch the documentary on the life of a gnat or the movie Air Force One just in anticipation of saying along with Harrison Ford, “Get off my plane.” Because there is no doubt, we all know people to who we would say, “Get off my plane.” Yes, free will is an emotional rollercoaster.

Just in the past few days I was in a situation where that danged free will popped its little head up and the outcome could have been both better and worse. A friend and I attended an event where there were many people and lots of things happening at once. I am not at all scared to try new things, but this event made me think that I should have listened to that little voice we all have. You know that one that says “no,” but your eyes say “yes.”

It was of course all about food and drink. I wanted to try the food so badly that I could have jumped through any amount of hoops to try several different things. My partner in crime wanted to try the drinks from each location. In the end we tried a very little bit of each. Now all that leads to the next part of the day’s events.

After the main event we came together to attend, we took a tour of my little town and did some exploring of outlying areas. We ended up at an old mine site. This place is really an attraction in my neck of the woods. It has old buildings. It has an amazing old mine headframe. It has pieces and parts hither and yon from days gone by. It really is quite an amazing place to see.

The problem is that it is fenced to keep pilferers out. It having been pilfered over and over again over many years. Hence the fence. To keep out trespassers and yes explorers too. I just wanted to show my friend, from outside the fence, the sights of this old mine site. Well wouldn’t you know it my friend was one of those who wanted to “explore.” This happens a lot. There are those who think, “That fence, that keep out sign, that HUGE red lettered ‘do not enter sign,’ that big dog with huge teeth… All those things don’t apply to ME!”

I sadly realized I had made that dreadful mistake we locals make. Showing our treasures to someone that doesn’t respect the rules of signs. It of course didn’t help matters that someone earlier had opened and left open the gate to the treasure chest of the mine site where I pulled up and parked. We looked out the windshield at the sights and oohed and awed at this building and that old bucket. I told stories that I had of the mine and its life span.

Then I started my truck up to back away, turn around and leave. My friend shook his head no, that he wanted to go in and look around. I said no because I know there are cameras and I know over the years there have been incidents where others have taken goodies from the site and that isn’t something on my bucket list. Well then – “free will.”

The gate was open. There were no “Stay Out Or Die” type signs. So, yes, we walked in to go exploring. I did though, to my credit, said no pilferage and no breaking and entering buildings. And in we traipsed, free will pushing on my backside all the time. It was a good little walk about and not a thing was touched except our feet to the weeds we walked on. Took a few pictures and left only footprints. Which brings me to the most amazing part of free will.

The ability to rein it in. That guru of all knowledge, Google, reports free will as “The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.”

In taking those steps inside that gate, I used free will without the constraint of fate and at my own discretion. But! Ah yes, the freewheeling “but.” The guilt of using free will is what keeps me, and hopefully you, from going through gates that really are there to keep us safe from harm.

Trina Machacek lives in Diamond Valley north of Eureka. Check out her books at or email


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