Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So, why the fence?

My past meets my present today.

We head east across southern Arizona on I-10 when the desert landscape changes, dramatically.

Everywhere we look are boulders, huge, round boulders defying gravity, balancing on mountaintops, on other rocks, on ledges, just ready to roll. But they don't. They just hang in there.

Up ahead, a rest stop. Great! It makes it easy for us to grab a few pictures, read a bit of history, soak in the views. And find out where we are: Texas Canyon, AZ.

We walk around the gravel and sandy undulating landscape dotted with these boulders, very aware of the warning signs concerning scorpions and poisonous snakes.

What we aren't prepared for is the fence.

The rest stop is surrounded by a fortified metal chain-link fence reinforced with barbed wire, many rows of it, along the top.

Why, I wonder? To keep me out or keep me in?

We head back up the hill and find a weathered metal memorial to the Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise and his surrender at Council Rock, just four miles up the road.

Council Rock. Here's my past. I did a report on Council Rock in elementary school, probably fourth grade. And, finally, here I am, more than 45 years later.

I remember lots of sadness about Council Rock. It was here in 1872 that Cochise signed the Broken Arrow Peace Treaty with the U.S. Government, which gave the Apaches the right to live on their own land. Four years later (two years after Cochise died), the government broke the treaty and kicked the Apaches out.


So back to the barbed wire. I think I'm being kept out.

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