Dreams and Hopes

As we begin a new year, the excerpt below describes Cabot’s dreams and hopes about his desert claim and his discovery of the mineral hot water. One of his wishes was for a healthy city.

No person in this world will ever get enough money, or gain enough distinction over his fellows, to equal the thrill and quiet joy of the ownership of land, which was mine when I stood on my desert claim for the first time. All papers signed and filed, there round me were some boxes of groceries [and] a canteen of water with a blanket spread on the ground. This was my land. This feeling was, I am sure, the same with all pioneer homesteaders.
The future of the desert and the future reward to each man differed greatly according to his slant on life’s picture. To some it was a field of alfalfa standing strong and green in winter sunshine. To some this alfalfa would turn into money as baled hay, or be fed to cows for milk, or to pigs to get fat and go to market. Some men talked chickens of different types, and turkeys too. A few expanded the idea of winter vegetables, or early fruits going to market. We heard stories of fantastic prices sometimes paid for the first grapes, figs, tomatoes, etc., which were then growing in very small quantities at widely separated spots on the desert between here and the Mexican line. Every man had a dream of the future in which he would be the man who had a large bank account and could write checks freely. It mattered not that no man in the desert could change a five-dollar bill at that time.
Another fact to be noted besides the general optimistical outlook, was that each settler was sure that he had the very finest claim in the whole desert. Each man would listen politely while another was explaining the good qualities of his homestead, but at the first break in the conversation, the listener would then expound at great length with convincing detail why his very own claim was by far and above any denial the best ding-busted piece of desert land between here and Mexico.

. . . My own dream in the distant past day was not of alfalfa, chickens, or pigs, little or big, but based on beef cattle. The beef cattle would provide money for an art gallery, museum, and time to paint desert pictures. . ..

My entrance into the ownership of cattle was to have had a very meager start. I planned to buy one beef cow, which was all the money I could then hope to get. The cow would have a calf, and in the years following I would be in the beef cattle business.
But when I discovered the hot mineral waters and we found that it would help ailing people, all plans were changed. Bob Carr and I reshaped our dreams of the future to take recognition of this very surprising circumstance. He and I sat often on hilltops, gazing at many thousands of uninhabited acres of hot, dry desert land. If the weather was bad, we crouched by small fires in deep arroyos or in thick brush. But always, much of the long talks was the same. Bob and I visualized a health city, growing up out of the greasewood here on the desert!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.