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  • But for the laws of friction, physics, perhaps chance, the powerful vehicle whips around the curves, climbing highway 87 north of Payson.

    Orange red sandstone, sheer walls carved decades ago to smooth the way for asphalt, blurs by. It's the same layer of rock and time that generates wonder at the Grand Canyon. Behind tinted glass, in climate controlled comfortable temperature, loud music blares from satellite generated music, a mobile phone beeps, and the rock goes by unnoticed.

    Unnoticed also is a forged iron cross covered with horseshoes, seated in a buried plastic bucket form Home Depot, plastic flowers dulled by dust at the base. Someone here, some time ago, was going along not noticing. Was it an animal on the road? A microsecond distraction? Senses dulled by alcohol? Nothing is along the side of the road to prevent an errant flick of the wheel to end up in the canyon.

    I've driven this stretch of highway hundreds of times, and its only been the last handful that I have noticed those horseshoes.

    Just a marker,

    Someone else's marker.


    Except, I could not help but notice it every time I drove by.

    There is no place to stop and look.

    You have to find a spot a third of a mile down the road, 2 curves away.

    The details of the road increase by orders of magnitude when you walk the edge of the highway. You see much more human debris, plastic bottles, twisted metal, junk food bags, a discarded pair of jeans, empty sacks of sand. You find in places only 30 inches from the white line edge of the road and the drop off into the canyon. The surface you walk on is not a trail, a path, but loose gravel and pointed stubby dried grass. When cars pass, the air can spin you, the loudness of tires on asphalt reminds you that the place you stand is a dangerous human artifact.

    The marker is made of rebar, how did I not notice the worn lariat hanging from the top? The antlers wedged in the bottom? a buried line of rocks submerged as a ... boundary? The initials in the middle are a reversed RC. Likely a name, but maybe something else. Cowboy? Cowgirl?

    Faster then they realized, RC or CR ended up off the road. You cannot help by standing here and noticing how disconnected this spot is from the world moving by at 55 mph. You cannot help but notice it from this unnoticed spot.
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