What I do, and why (a forward to Shap Luk).
TO EVERYONE: KEEP QUIET. WHEN THE LAST SPIKE IS DRIVEN ... WE WILL SAY "DONE." DON'T BREAK THE CIRCUIT, BUT WATCH FOR THE BLOWS OF THE HAMMER.
ALMOST READY. HATS OFF. PRAYER IS BEING OFFERED.
WE UNDERSTAND. ALL ARE READY IN THE EAST.
ALL READY NOW. THE SPIKE WILL SOON BE DRIVEN. THE SIGNAL WILL BE THREE DOTS FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE BLOWS.
DOT. DOT. DOT. DONE.
Ogden is a railroad town, and this was railroad country. The cold, clear winter air still rings with the faint and eerie sounds of far-off locomotives and the halls where I work are decorated with photos of the building of the transcontinental railroad. I stop often and gaze into the faces there looking out at me. Rough faces, hard faces . . . track layers and repairers of a continent, of the Old West. They are like old friends now that I have visited so many times. They seem to bow to me as to an old acquaintance, they pass me so often, and apparently they take me for an employee; and so I am. . . .**
But something else is there too in that dense, black winter sky. To the south, and above, bright stars in the heavens, the landing lights of jets some 50 miles distant, creep slowly downward along their glide paths. For a just moment, a mere instant in the dark heavens of my minds eye, these moving bursts of light appear like the descending starships of my grandchildrens childrens future.
Monday I return to the rocket plant, as a cog in a wheel, that turns a great corporate machine, that grades the rail beds and lays the tracks that will bring the dawning of such a future . . . that is the hope at least.
. . . I too would fain be a track-repairer somewhere in the orbit of the earth.
New Year's Day, 1998.
* Note: These are the actual telegraph transmission during the ceremony.
**Note: The quote is from Thoreau's 'Walden'.