(Published December 2007 in Arivaca Connection.)
My motivation was strictly commercial. Working for the highway department, I was planning a new freeway from Nogales to Yuma along the international border, which will double as a border wall.
|The border wall (in 2007).|
If this sounds farfetched, you haven’t lived in modern-day Arizona for very long.
For me, in reality, there’s nothing more charming and anachronistic than an international border fence which is comprised of a couple strands of beat-up barbed wire designed to keep the cattle in check.
A day-long rocky photo-trek, demanding of one’s ankles and all the rest, satisfied my photographer’s curiosity and need to chronicle the length of a fabled canyon, in its fall-color splendor. Most of all, it revealed an international border monumental in its political magnitude but archaic in its appearance.
Believe it or not, I’m hesitant to talk about it, since in current-day Arizona, just mentioning an existing length of this old fence begs fate to bulldoze it overnight for something much bigger, and uglier.
Poets will write with more eloquence about the societal ugliness that surrounds a border wall. They’ll write about the wall as a symbol of many things, of the failure of governments or the futility of this or that. But I prefer a naïve conclusion that says that I’m coincidentally witnessing a era of wall-building that is but temporary, in the span of the natural world.
I believe gullibly that the entire proposed border wall may yet not be built, due to an imminent new federal administration. And, I believe that if it is built, the wall will eventually be taken down (but probably not in my lifetime).
|Yikes! My toe was an illegal immigrant to Mexico.|
Trekking to the border inside the depths of the legendary Sycamore Canyon, of the Pajarita Wilderness, took me through a day of complete solitude. On that day not even a nature-lover was to be seen on my path. The only mega-fauna I encountered was what appeared to be a Mexican cow having scooted northward under the creek-span of a decrepit border fence.
A 10-hour round-trip forced march of rock-hopping and bushwhacking propelled me the 11 miles to this fence, with stops for photo-taking, of course. Rewarded by the raw spectacle of the canyon around every turn, I passed the test of endurance. Satisfying also, was the sight of a charming little wire barrier at the mouth of the canyon, marking the international border, and, by its unimposing quaintness, symbolizing so much more that is being lost.