Saturday, August 20, 2005

scattered travelogue day 4: the ghost town of Sego Canyon

Just as the creepy/friendly guy in Thompson had told us, there was an abandoned mining town a few minutes into the dirt road. And just as the creepy/friendly guy said, there was nobody there, whether to shoot us with a full magazine of a machine guy or to greet us with a big miner's grin. The two main ruins, one wooden and the other brick Southwestern-style, were at the beginning of the town, followed by a few others. There were no indication of the town having been a coal-mining town, nor were there any hint of recent human activity in the area. The only soda can I found among the tall grass was completely rusted and we couldn't make out what it was. All we knew was that it was more than a decade old, from the old-fashioned pull-top.

half a century later
I loved the salmon pink of this Southwestern-style brick ruin. The large windows, high up on the walls, framed the blue sky and the surrounding rocky cliffs like picture frames. In the back, overgrown by grass, was a rusting old car, with tens of bullet holes on its one remaining door.

???????????? only the flowers knew
I almost stepped on this lone flower as I walked back to our car from one of the decaying houses. Blooming in a ghost town all alone, it reminded me of an old Japanese tanka (a form of fixed poetry, longer than the now-famous haiku) which laments the cherry blossoms blooming deep in the mountains without being appreciated by any living soul other than the flowers themselves.

Inside of the largest remaining structure, which could have been one of the mine's headquarters, the walls were crumbling into the open area invaded by obstinate desert plants with the aid of the abundant sun pouring from the nonexistent ceiling. The absolute silence in the ruin, with the bright sky strangely severed into a rectangle by the four walls, was a sheer treat for an urbanite.

After about half an hour of exploration, we headed back to the interstate. We had a long day ahead of us--more than 300 miles drive to Denver.

"I think I liked Thompson better than Sego Canyon," I said. Sego was my first real ghost town, but it was too dead to be emotionally engaging. Similarly, the passage of time had striped away any intersting details from the ruins--all that remained was the basic structures of the buildings. On the contrary, Thompson still had the feel of human life and emotion that are falling apart. On a rotting yet mended door of a barn, or in the fading flower prints on a curtain, we could have a glimpse into the people's lives. "But at any rate, I'm glad we didn't get ambushed and shot dead by that guy. I guess he was just being nice."


Post a Comment

<< Home