This trip we went back to southern New Mexico. Pat wanted to see that Rocky Canyon. Notah and Kerra had been trying to figure out the actual name of the canyon. It was deep and long and they thought sure it should have a name. They came up with two, but I know the one was wrong. I don't know about the other..
We went in the way we had come out last week. It was shorter than the other way. We turned off the highway onto the graded road. We turned off the graded road onto a two tire track. A little ways along that track, Pat thought he saw a grave and wanted to stop so he could look at it.
We're always ready to 'stop and look.' Good thing we did.
After they'd walked around for a while I decided the ground was even enough that I'd have no trouble walking so I got out too. I'm glad I did.
There was a grave there. In fact there were several. Pat had discovered an old, old graveyard. A rough path 'paved with a variety of flat stones, had once led among them. The path was only visible after we'd found the graves. Then it was obvious the stones scattered here and there had once led through the graveyard. There were no markers remaining, only heaps of stone or sometimes circles of stone surrounding a sunken pile of others.
Beyond the grave yard was the remains of an old well, It had been filled in long before, but the circle of the wall remained. To the side were three metal rings of the sort once used to bind barrels and buckets. Like these.
The rings were small, about 12 inches in diameter, so the bucket or barrel must have been of a size easily carried when filled with water. The wood had long since rotted away, only the rings remained.
That's all that remained besides tumbleweed and some windblown trash.
Across the road, (I didn't go over because my 'walking around time' was over.) Kerra found the foundations of houses. There had e vidently been a small town there that had remained long enough that they needed a cemetary. I suppose there were eight or ten graves that we saw. There may have been more scattered among the brush.
It's poignant to think that this is just one of many towns scattered throughout the southwest. I wondered who the people were who had lived here. Why did they start a town here in, seemingly, the middle of nowhere. What did they do for a living? Did they arrive intentionally or was it a last ditch choice? Did they all leave at once? Or did the town just slowly die? Or did the well go dry and force them to leave?
It made me think of the poem by Shelley: "Nothing beside remains. Round the decay . . . boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.'
That was the feeling there beside that lonely lost town.