The lost mining towns of rural nowhere

The Morenci mine and the adjoining town of Clifton are only a few miles from the New Mexico border in Southeastern Arizona. The original plan was to bike around the mine, but that all changed with a recently fractured elbow. A gimpy body full of pain meds makes his way into rural nowhere…..

I should have stayed home, but my reservation at the Blue Door Sanctuary was too late to cancel. What originally was an idea to stay in a former Presbyterian church now turned into a weekend of rest and thoughtful reflection on the state of my deteriorating body. Maybe the Angels, Saints and even God himself would help me come to terms with my ailments, both physical and mental.

It’s a week after Thanksgiving, which means most are celebrating the Holiday season. The people in this rural area are no different, with a Christmas celebration happening on Main Street. All 200 hundred people from town seem to be here enjoying the festivities.

All eyes seem to be on me, as it is easy to see I’m not from around here. The meds though have me caring even less than usual. I study the decrepit buildings and the monuments to the machines that dug up the earth for the largest copper mine in Arizona. It’s quite the dichotomy for me to see Native Americans living in a place that destroys the land they hold so close to their belief system in the Great Creator of The West.

I don’t last long wandering around town though, as the pain has me hobbled. I go back to the Blue Door Sanctuary and meet the daughter of the lady that runs this place. She is a nice enough young girl, and takes me into the basement where I will be staying. The eclectic nature of this church is equal parts fascinating and creepy. Christian artwork intermixed with Native American figurines and reminders of the cowboys of the Old West. Mosaic tiles mixed into the crumbling basement walls that hold this place together.

I settle in nicely though, pop another pill and watch The Ballard of Buster Scroggs. The movie fits my mood and this place perfectly, as sometimes you bite the bullet, and other times the bullet bites you.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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