Tag Archives: history
The Corner Of Arizona And Sixth
Tucson has a disappointing lack of respect for its history. Small enclaves of restoration and gentrification exist, but large swaths of our history have been bulldozed for a convention center, cheaply made highrise dorms, and student housing disguised as six bedroom houses with four car garages. This building will doubtless be gone soon, solid brick construction replaced by cheap stick and stucco.
Death And Failure
In 1905, dikes along the Colorado River were breached by heavy rains, and water flooded into the Salton Sink, site of an ancient sea. The entire flow of the river was periodically channeled into the valley until the construction of Hoover Dam enabled flood control. The Salton Sea was stocked with game fish and became a popular recreation site for many years, but gradually became more and more salty due to lack of an outflow and high salinity runoff from surrounding agriculture. Today, only tilapia can survive in the lake, which is nearly as salty as the Great Salt Lake, and it is ringed by dessicated fish carcasses and failed developments.
A Window To The Past
Ancient places and people have always had a powerful effect on me. There is something about being in a place like Chaco Canyon (pictured above) that makes time palpable. For all of our dwelling on the past and future of our own lives, humans really spend most of their time in the present, living now. We think about our past in terms of how it affects our now, and live now based on our hopes for the future. Being in a place like Chaco takes me out of the now, back to a time when it was full of people, building, farming, playing, loving. I touch the stones and feel their age, imagining how they were placed by people who probably didn’t even live to be as old as I am now. I look through their windows, imagining the vibrant scenes they would have seen standing in the same spot as I am today. I wonder what happened to them. I wonder where they went. I wonder why. I know I can read the theories and histories about their lives and demise in books, but for me, the joy of being in a place like Chaco is being transported and simply imagining what was.