Foto Friday Favorite Place Thread
Tell me about your favorite place
Tell me about your favorite place. Don’t tell me where it is, necessarily, just tell me a bit about it. What makes it special? Is it aesthetics? The community? Or just a feeling you get when you’re there?
If you were to ask me the same question, I’d admittedly have a hard time answering. There are so many. Favorites, I mean. And usually they are not specific, discrete spots, but a collection of different places. Maybe a shady spot under an ancient juniper along the bed of an arroyo that affords a view of cottonwood leaves against desert varnish. Maybe the rim of a canyon from which I watch the moon rise from the curves of Ute Mountain. Maybe just an idea of a place. A dream.
But there is one specific place that gets me every time. It’s in one of the canyons slashing through the Great Sage Plain in the Four Corners Country. I won’t name it, but it’s pictured above. Many of you will recognize it immediately. Others may have to think about it a bit (but the photos below will give it away). Maybe you’ve driven past here on the way to somewhere, and you glanced over and noticed one of the old trucks or tanks melting into the earth.
It’s not spectacular scenery or anything. Nor is it any kind of oasis in the desert. The creek usually has water in it, upstream irrigation’s leftovers and runoff, but there aren’t towering cottonwoods. Just tamarisk, Russian olives, and oodles of liquor bottles and beer cans alongside the bumpy old road that runs through here. Some plastic flowers are affixed to a barbed-wire fence, a memorial, I presume, to a person shot by a sheriff’s deputy here a few years back following a high speed chase.
I once stopped at the now-defunct store nearby, just to see. It was dark inside and musty. An older guy sat in a recliner and stared at me. I opened the cooler, grabbed a Pepsi in a glass bottle, and stepped outside and savored the cool sweet.
I make it a point to take this route when I’m traveling around the Four Corners, even if it takes a bit longer. And I often stop, at least to take a picture, but also to climb over the barbed-wire and scramble up onto the bench to the remains of an ancient pueblo that my father first took me to see many years ago. I look out at Ute Mountain and try to imagine what it would have been like to live there.
I honestly don’t know why I’m so drawn to this place. Maybe because it’s the confluence of two major drainages in the area. Maybe it’s the archaeological richness of the area. Perhaps this is the point at which one slips behind the elusive and indefinable Slickrock Curtain.
The butte in the image isn’t a butte, at all, but the tip of a long, narrow mesa. It was mapped by the Hayden Survey when they passed through in the late 1870s. Although they missed the large and interesting pueblo just behind the photographer (of the above picture), they did mark the mesa tip as “Burial Place” (a local rancher and vandal would later dig up and loot the burial). Four decades later, archaeologists Sylvanus Morley and Alfred Kidder would name the mesa tip the “Fortified Spur” because of a zig-zagging, masonry wall that spans the width of the mesa-top.
Now it’s your turn! Tell me about a favorite place: