Posts Tagged ‘wild boars’

A Touch of Imagination

The traveler scrambled down the banks of Siphon Canyon. It wasn’t much of a canyon, really, more like a gully. It was the end of the dry season, but the creek still meandered between its banks. The traveler headed into that gully for a reason: it was far cooler in the shade of the ash, willow & mesquite trees fed by the perpetual, life-giving waters of the spring at the head of the creek.

It was that famed spring the traveler sought. Once he reached that spot, he would head east towards his destination. But a shadow in the trees moved in the wrong direction. There was something up ahead, blocking the path. Small eyes stared past a broad snout, straight at the traveler. The two, the wild boar who belonged, and the unarmed man who did not, locked gazes. One would react with instinct, the other needed to react with thought or risk being gored. This far from civilization, that would not be a good outcome.


It was dry up on the knoll, far to the east of the creek and spring. That’s where they built these forts back in the day: the inevitable filth from dusty soldiers couldn’t pollute the only reliable water supply. Despite the dry, hot air, there seemed to be a mist, a spectral haze, hovering over the ruins. The entire place was eerie. The air was still, not a leaf was blowing. There was no sound beyond the traveler’s own breathing. No squirrels were shuffling leaves in the woods, no birds were twittering in the trees. Even the ground was heavy, the traveler barely kicked up any dust as he wandered through the ruins.

The ruins themselves were downright ghostly. The remnants of adobe walls, white and rounded from decades of wind and monsoons, dotted the area like mournful apparitions. Nothing of substance grew on the pathways. Life, it seemed, wanted nothing to do with this place. This was a place of evil, a staging area for mayhem, conflict, abuse, and genocide. This was a place used by one people for the subjugation of another, used by the powerful to forcibly take the land and lifestyle from another. Now, the very place murmurs out a mournful “why?”, but of course, there’s no one to listen. No one but a lone traveler who briefly bows his head and continues on to his next destination.


I’m a firm believer in imagination, and in my view, there’s no better place to exercise one’s imagination than in the varied sites of the National Park System. Let’s face it, some of the sites are pretty lame: a four-room loft in a Philadelphia townhouse, an old steel foundry in a sleepy Massachusetts suburb, a forgotten fort in an unspectacular chunk of Arizona. A little imagination goes a long way in such places.

One can imagine the past and try to reconstruct how people lived and thought in days gone by. One can imagine the future by applying old lessons to today’s situations. Fort Bowie’s remoteness and appearance encourages imagination, perhaps the plot for some third-rate fantasy novel or Peter Jackson film project. Because of this, Fort Bowie is one of my favorite National Historic Sites.

Imagination is good. Exercise it from time to time. And take a trip out to remote Fort Bowie.

[Sadly, I didn’t own a digital camera when I visited Fort Bowie. Pics are public domain from the University of Arizona and a neat site I stumbled upon: Fort Wiki.]



Fort Bowie National Historic Site

Fort Wiki

The Capture of Geronimo

Google map to Fort Bowie

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