Monday, September 5, 2011

Arizona Highways

Arizona Highways is a monthly publication with wonderful photographs and articles from around the state.  I once carried the magazine in the prison library until it was determined to be an escape aid.  It does have maps that could be utilized for that purpose and was thus administratively eliminated.

We live in rural southeastern Arizona. To travel to Phoenix, an approximate 3 and half hour trek, we must exit the community on Highway 70, which then turns into Highway 60 in the Globe, Miami, and Superior area.

Traveling through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, I watch for the subtle changes in the environment.  In particular, I wait for the lone sentinel of the desert, that first saguaro cactus that seemingly stands guard off to the right of the highway.  He soon will be joined by a myriad of other cacti in a silent tribute to this desolate land. 

The stately saguaro cacti remind me in some part of the Native Americans who also quietly watched the land and its changes while on the backs of their painted ponies, at least in my mind’s eye. 

The land, although beautiful in its stark contrasts, is a rough and rocky terrain that is frequented by minor canyons and washes.  I could never have been a pioneer woman in a Conestoga wagon traveling to a new land, a new homestead.   If my history lessons serve me right, there was a burial every seven miles along the westward trail and most of them were the children of the pioneers.

Recently on one of our return trips from the Phoenix area to our home, I found something interesting that I had not noted before:  between the small villages of Fort Thomas and Pima, Arizona, the mile markers jumped from 314 to 326.  A 12 mile difference!  What does this mean?  Are we, the citizens of this county being assessed road taxes for a fictitious portion of land?  Where are these missing 12 miles?  How did the Arizona Department of Transportation let this happen?  Inquiring minds want to know!  We, or at least I, want answers!

As if these questions were important.  More important are the lives that forged this nation, this country.  I don’t just mean the Anglo Saxton Protestants, either, but those whose land and lives were taken due to the fledgling nation’s belief in manifest destiny.  We American’s have quite a history.  Some of it good, some of it bad and some of it quite ugly.

Just the same, I can think of no other nation or country in which I would wish to live.

Proverbs 16:17
New American Standard Bible

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who watches his way preserves his life.