In search of the modern-day dream of its time, Mark Twain headed to Nevada from Missouri with his brother to mine for gold. The year was 1861 and for two weeks the two of them hopped from stage-coach to stage-coach across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Imagine this.
Imagine no air conditioning. Imagine the smell and shake of the stage coaches for days. Imagine no cell phones. Imagine no iPad to occupy your time for 14 plus days of travel to dig, live, and find ‘the dream.’
Now imagine the anticipation. Imagine the stories Twain had heard about others finding gold. It’s safe to assume, the closer he got to the Nevada line, the more robust the anticipation grew. Imagine each stage-coach becoming more and more full with people chasing the same dream. You can almost hear the choir-like chants for gold cant’ you? And remember, there was no Las Vegas at this time to fall back on if he was unable to find gold. It would be another 50 years until the city of Las Vegas would be incorporated. Truly, this was the Wild, undiscovered, West.
Long story short, Twain made it Nevada and dug, and dug, and dug, and dug, and dug, and dug.
One of my favorite quotes is from the book of Twain: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.”
If there’s TiVo in Heaven, I’m hopeful that one day I can see the see the scene when Twain slammed the shovel one last time into the side of a mountain and simultaneously felt and found that it was himself that he was really searching for…not the gold. That was the day and moment he figured out why.
I hope and pray that you’ve had a similar moment.
Happenstance eventually got him to San Francisco, by way of Nevada, and there begins the story of Mark Twain and the man we know as the father of American literature.