“Heading West” Inspired by Paso Robles

Riding in our covered wagon, I’m reminded of the conversation my husband and I had the previous week.

“We could be part of something bigger, my dear. We could be pioneers,” he said, encouraging me to agree to his insane proposition.

“But our whole life is here. You were born here, I was born here. Our children will be born here.”

“Our children could be born in a new land. Free from all history. Able to explore the great unknown with us. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”

I knew he had a point. That our small hometown was becoming too stagnant for our living. Too stifling. Many people have chosen to embark on new adventures westward. And the prospect of doing so excited me, but the implications made me worry.

“But we won’t know anything out there. What if we cannot settle? What if the West is simply barren and… nothing?”

“Men from across the states are striking gold in the most remote of places. I don’t want to chase the dream of just gold, for it may not come true, but I want to chase the dream of starting over, beginning anew together.”

I did not dislike his words. I’ve always trusted his opinion. Looking out now on the expanse of land before me, I am feeling much more safe and secure in my choice to venture with him.
“We don’t have to go as far north as some. To San Francisco. There will be promise somewhere with a shorter trek.” He assured me.

“Perhaps that’s best.” I was beginning to adjust to the idea.

He handed me a newspaper with an article about someone who had made this same journey. It spoke of beautiful hot springs, and prime locations for growing grapes for wine.

“It sounds lovely,” I said, half serious and half convincing myself this was a good idea for our future family.

He smiled and gave me a kiss.

The rolling fields and hills before me spoke of promise, it’s true. Traveling was a burden but I felt relief in knowing that we could work for our living once we arrived in our new place. We may never have the experiences we will have if we stayed in our familiar town. I could be a schoolteacher again and he a miner. Or not, we could both start something new. Either way, I grinned at the idea of being successful in our journey, and knew we were not alone, for we would become a family sooner than he would imagine.