It is a peaceful place, this small canyon. It is a place where few went, as there was no need to go there. Perhaps an occasional hunter wandered up it, looking for quail or chukkar. Maybe the occasional off-roader rode the bottom, hoping that the canyon went somewhere. Now, the floor is covered with footprints, those of friends and family making the pilgrimage to this quiet place.
The canyon's location keeps out the noise from the highway, located only a mile away. The sun illuminates the rocks and sand of the canyon, providing an earthen hued contrast to the vivid blue of the desert sky.
The serenity of it masks the carnage that occurred there. The momentary physical carnage and the lingering emotional one - the one that causes people to go there.
Memorials like this are not uncommon, they are found all over town. The town memorials do not have the serenity and solitude that this one does. When people visit them, they do so under the gaze of passers-by. That will not happen here. Visitors will have a place to remember, reflect and to heal and will be allowed to do so in privacy.
I have found memorials similar to these out here in the Mojave. I have wondered what the story was, how these monuments to loved-ones lost came to be, out here in the middle of nowhere. I didn't find this one, I visited it. I know the story of it and frankly, I wish I didn't.
I don't know for certain if I will visit this place again, though as I am in the area every so often, it is likely. Hopefully, whoever controls the property will allow the monument to remain as a memorial to those that were taken from us far too early.
Even if the monument is removed, the occasional set of footprints will be impressed in the canyon floor, serving in it's place.
Thanks for reading,