Treasure of Doko’oo’sliid

I walk in the woods, a lot.
People tell me I crave the anonymity of the forest—which is pretty true. It’s just me and the dog, usually off trail, somewhere on the side of the Peaks.
I talk to ravens and try hard to get lost. Sam chases the evil elk and brings back (he’s a retriever) his found treasures: the badly decomposed leg of a deer, a large spinal column and assorted odiferous remnants of pelts and skulls of woodland critters.
Sometimes we stumble upon old cars abandoned years ago. Swallowed by the forest, they are works of art now—sculpture.
If there was someway to drag them from their final resting place and set them up in a gallery, I would, but I don’t own a tow truck and besides, there is some law of the West that says pre-1955 junk is protected as an artifact.
I did wrestle a bent 1960-era Chevy pickup tailgate out from the woods. The large white letters spelling out “Chevrolet” were shot through from every caliber weapon ever used in northern Arizona. Hundreds, maybe thousands of holes from shotgun slugs, buckshot and birdshot: .22s, .270s, .308s, .243s,.30-.30s, 44s, 38s, 9mms, etc. It was sure enough dead.
I found the cab of a pickup in a ditch out near Baderville. It was shot the hell up also, but remains in pretty good shape.
There is a ’50s car off the Weatherford Trail. Driven up there by some crazy fool before the Wilderness designation, I guess. Somehow, it went off into a ravine and the owners never recovered it. Now, it’s a landmark, an icon for hikers. Aspens and vines now weave the engine compartment.
The car in this photo is up on Observatory Mesa, not too far from downtown. It’s a ’30s gangsta-looking sedan; so thoroughly beat up, looted and abused as to defy description. A giant stepped on it—something big must have twisted the iron and steel into loops. Maybe it was 50 really drunk guys.
People punish cars that refuse to go.
I walk on, knowing the car will be here long after I’m gone—forever rusting into the earth; metal hues of blues, greens and reds.


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