Tue 27 Nov 2007
I woke in the dark pre-dawn hours on Saturday to the sound of a hard rain falling—in the room. We were in an inn in Bisbee, an old mining town in the southeast corner of the state that has been given a facelift in recent years by artists and community busybodies. In a corner of the room where the ceiling paneling had pulled away, the water was coming in. I pulled a washbasin under the leak, which worked for an hour or so, when the drip decided to split up and attack from different areas. Dr. G finally woke as well, and helped maneuver a plastic-lined basket under the worst of it. We snuck back under the covers and listened to that months-absent sound: rain. It was nice, like washing your face after a long day.
By the time we got breakfast and sorted out the room situation, the rain had turned to thick snow, fluttering down like goose feathers. Our plans to hike the hills behind the town and wander the narrow streets were kaput, but it was SNOWING! Woohoo! Last time I saw snow was in Fairbanks, Alaska, 18 months ago. We liked Bisbee in the snow. One of the charms of Bisbee is its unpretentiousness. You get a life story with every transaction, and the prices are low. It took two visits to BizzArt and manhandling every single handmade toy to decide on a few Bisbee Stitches to take home. We met their maker, who looked kind of like his creations, with big eyes and fluffy blue hair.
The snow stopped as we drove away from the mountains into the plains, on a search for Contention City. It’s a ghost town that made an appearance (in non-ghost form) in the movie 3:10 to Yuma. The name had captured our imaginations and we decided to find it, since we were in the area. Clambering over a fence, down old roads, across abandoned train tracks and a dry riverbed, we finally came upon the few remains of the town: broken bricks and rusting nails, thick bottles in blue, brown, and green glass, broken pottery and ceramics. The sky was just like it is in the movies: Blue clouds breaking up, dousing a distant wedge of yellow-leafed trees or purple hills in light. You’d think by the beauty that they were the only places worth going.