I’ve often asked myself if I could choose a magical power, you know the ones – invisibility, mind reading, flying – time travel would be my weapon of choice. Like Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter, I would twist the rings of time to reverse minutes, days, weeks, even years to when my heart was at its fullest or lightest. I would spin back to the day when the most beautiful, coneheaded baby boy was cradled in my arms. His tiny hands gripped tightly around my little finger and his eyes as blue as the Pacific Ocean squinted to focus on mine. I would race through fields of memories to the day I first met my birth mother – older and more frail than I imagined.
For much of today, the iphone read “no service” as the wheels of time, in the form of tires on a tour bus, took my son‘s fourth grade class and parents back to 1850 – to the California Gold Rush. Only 150 years ago families braved an adventure more daring than the fastest themepark ride and far more treacherous than any high risk stock market investment. They reduced all their worldly possessions down to what would fit into a covered wagon the size of a modern SUV. Their most treasured valuables included the like of rice, cornmeal, a dutch oven, axes, and the family Bible. Mothers, sisters and aunts crafted quilts from their own dresses – woven memories of those left behind. Before the magic of photography these scraps of sweat and tears warmed bodies in the love and light of family. They walked with mended socks and worn soles through unknown open country, traveling thousands of miles, across prairie, desert, and the Sierra Nevada mountains to a land of hopes and dreams. They endured months living off the land, sleeping under the stars and protecting their often dwindling possessions – all in hopes of the California dream.
These men and women of a century and a half ago were the true fearless heroes. They faced insurmountable odds to fight for their passion and provide better opportunities for their family. I celebrate their drive, determination, and the pioneering spirit inspired in all of us!
The “official” creation for today would lie somewhere between opening a sympathetic ear to those less fortunate and refraining against judgements of those whose company I may not necessarily enjoy.