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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mission Cemetery

Last month, in the hiatus between my time in Boulder and my return to Berlin, I traveled to the region I still consider my homeland: The Four Corners Country.

I was born and grew up in Durango, and spent a good portion of my youth riding around the region in the back of my parents' old, white International pickup truck with my older brother, Geoff. We'd chug along highways and back roads through the Reservation and public lands, the aroma of sage or pinon or juniper or exhaust our constant companions. My dad was a writer and a journalist, so these trips qualified as work for him. We were poor, so they were our only family vacations.

Later, as a teenager and then a college student, my friends and I continued our explorations of the canyons, mesas and mountains of the area.

My recent return was in part for work. I ended up writing for and editing a special travel issue for High Country News, which included a piece on the Four Corners Country. It was also for pleasure. It had been a long time since I had visited this beautiful and eerie place. Despite all my time spent in the area, I made some new discoveries. I had actually never hiked into the Bisti Wilderness, and I did on this trip. And I had also never noticed this cemetery, though I had driven past it many times. The light was just right this time, and I had to stop and caught a few images. It was beautiful but also haunting, a place where the dead have been forgotten, it seems, the grave markers toppled and decaying. I'll post more pictures from the journey soon.

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