Calcutta, Oregon: Past
A plume of tropical water, scented and warm as mother-milk, weaves a long the current across the Pacific and eddies into a bay between cliffs, where a short valley receives the attendant breeze with a forest of buttressed trees hung with orchids. At sunset, lotus petals fill the air like snow. In the night, the offshore flow carries them out to sea.
The pioneer families of Calcutta pushed across the continent, lost livestock and babies, hardened their wills and kept going, until at last they looked down a valley with nothing to its west: They stood together like a bas-relief above the forest and felt the humid breath of the ocean. They went down and settled in the strange tropical air.
Rather than attract too many settlers to their small paradise, they never sent word where they were. They became known as the Lost Wagon Train. A monument to the missing party stands by a river in Wyoming.