Monday, May 28, 2007

Death Upon Death

We went on one of our excursions today. Actually, this was a "do over" of a previous excursion, because we really screwed up the first time around. We were looking for the ruins of Sasco, and despite internet resources aplenty we missed it by a good 20 miles or so the first time around. The "roads" we were driving the first time were more like ideas of general direction which didn't have quite so many plants as the other bits of the desert. (I don't care what the "Ironwood Forest National Monument" signs said. That's a friggin' desert. It's a "forest" like I've got hair on my head. Sparse, short, and depressed in its singular loneliness.)

Today was different, in that we looked at one of them there newfangled things called a "map". Perhaps you've heard of it? It's a cartographic dream! Thanks to the map, we found Sasco with no difficulty whatsoever. The ruins are in relatively good shape. The cemetery had a headstone with a date as recent as 2006, which took some of the mystique out of the whole thing. A cemetery for a ghost town shouldn't have anything more recent than the early 1900s to be chill-worthy. Most of the markers had no names or dates. They were apparently somewhat mass-produced, in a homemade sense. Concrete crosses formed in a mold, and placed at the heads of the graves. Some were original, though, so that made up for the recently departed. This particular image is of a nameless tomb that had a nameless cactus take hold and grow in the concrete. The fishhook barrel cactus, though small, was still strong enough to crack open the concrete in search of nutrients and moisture. It found enough of both for a while, but eventually it died as well. Now, an unmarked grave in the desert in a ghost town has only a sun-blackened cactus to distinguish it from the other graves.

Death doesn't fool around in Arizona.

1 comment:

Dzeni said...

Intriguing post. Love your rather ironic turn of phrase. Even though you were writing about death / a graveyard, this post still made me smile.