Driving east on Interstate 80 from Sacramento, California, over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. No matter how many times I traveled it, the sheer magnitude of those mountains took my breath away. For a girl from the flat farmlands of Ohio, it was really something to see. I’d been to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, the Appalachians in West Virginia (which are both gorgeous) - but nothing compares to the Sierra Nevada range. I-80 follows the same route as the old wagon trails used during the Gold Rush years of 1848-1850, cresting at Donner Summit, which was the site of the ill-fated Donner Party tragedy of the mid-1800s. At the summit, Donner Lake sits like a jewel amidst the towering pines and mountains. When driving I-80, I would sometimes pull my car over at the Immigrant Gap overlook. Standing there, looking out over the vastness of the mountains and valley far below, I would try to imagine what it was like for those early pioneers. This was one of the most difficult portions of their journey. They actually had to lower their wagons by rope, down the craggy mountain pass, to the valley below. What strong men and women, and what courage and determination it took to leave behind all that was comfortable and familiar to them - all for the dream of a better life.
Dreams are a driving force in our lives. It seems easy to dream when we’re young and our lives stretch before us like an endless ocean. I know I was full of dreams - to travel the world, be an artist, write a best-selling novel, fall madly in love. Then…suddenly we’re middle-aged and, if we’ve been lucky and worked hard, some of those dreams have come true. More often than not, however, dreams get lost along the way…or changed a bit…or squished by too many life pressures…or broken into so many pieces they become unrecognizable. But, here’s the thing about dreams - they’re free and available to everyone. Anyone can have a dream. I think dreams are important no matter what your age. Just as dreams are what drove the pioneers to seek out a better life in far-away places - dreams today still keep us moving forward. Even when we feel defeated and lost, that’s when it’s most important to have a dream to hold onto…like a gold nugget in the palm of your hand. Maybe no one else knows it’s there - but you do and it’s special and unique. It’s one of the sweets of life. So, to answer my question…where do broken dreams go? I think they’re recycled into new dreams. So, go ahead…no matter what your age…pick a dream…any dream. Just dream.