The breaking of day

The breaking of day

The breaking of day

I’ve been up for a while now. The cold grey morning is gradually changing to a bright sunny day. I sit and savor my second cup of coffee as the sun peers over the ridge. It’s light slips down the rocky cliff walls and spreads across the canyon floor. The little town of Caliente comes alive with a golden glow. Another day has dawned in peaceful rural Nevada.

I heard a couple of freight trains rumble by a little earlier. But all is quite and still for now.

Nights and early mornings are quite cold here, but come daylight it warms up nicely. It’s December as I write this. There is a little snow on the ground from a couple of days ago. It slowly melts in the afternoon sun and shorty will be gone,

There’s a couple of bars in town and they have a few slot machines. There is a bank, credit union, gas station, Dollar Store and churches. There’s a school of course, a hospital, senior center and a mortuary. It has what you would expect of a small town. But it also has a sense of its own identity, its name, location and past history. You can feel an echo of it still in the air. It lingers like half-forgotten memories. Cobwebs of the town’s past are all around.

This town has had its heydays, its ups and downs, good times and bad. Fires and floods swept through here. Pioneers, miners, cattlemen, seekers of fortune and adventure came through here.

Businessmen, tycoons and giants of the railroad industry sent untold teams of workers way out here. They blasted through rock, dug tunnels and laid down railroad track across a hostile and rugged terrain. They opened up a route between major cities and brought progress to this land.

Those long hard days of back breaking toil and braving the harsh weather conditions; they are difficult for us to envision in this age of modern comfort. Some of the pioneers and workers did well while others did not. Some stayed, built homes and raised families, while others moved along. The inhabitants of this town are the descendants of those brave and hardy survivors.

The railroad I suppose was a huge new advancement; the internet of its time you could say. It linked both coasts. Like a vein carrying life giving blood through a body, it brought lumber, household goods and people to this newly discovered territory.

After all this time it’s so surprising to see the railroad still in existence and the trains continuing to run to this very day.

The brave people who opened up this land were optimists, adventurers and winners. They left their marks and paved the way for future generations. No wonder you can still feel a sense of their great accomplishments and success lingering here today. I just wish that our youth of the present and future days can carry on some semblance of that greatness.

Well I must get on with my daily activities. Just wanted to pass along some of my musings, thoughts and considerations.

I wouldn’t want to expound too much on the great beauty and special nature of this place. We don’t want it invaded by sightseers and tourists from the big city.

Just as I’m closing, wouldn’t you know, another train chugs on through. It blasts its horn four times and without stopping it rolls on down the line.

Dan O’Connor can be reached at