Tonight I stood with the ghost of Cochise and watched as the sun gave a eulogy to his legacy with a closing burst of golden beams to guide his spirit's journey home.
I've often shared that my favorite of the Sky Island mountain ranges is the Dragoons in Cochise County. This incredible collection of misshaped jagged cliffs jut from the ground at improbable angles as if some subterranean warrior thrust them through the surface to create a defense of their sacred realm. There is no symmetry in the Dragoons. Gigantic boulders weathered by the eons into oblong spheres border the base of these mountains while large hoodoos stand sentry along its ridges. There is chaos here that inspires a serenity in the beauty of understanding that it is an abstract sculpture created by God long before mankind had the notion of abstract design.
It is in the Dragoon Mountains that Cochise, the great warrior chief of the Chiricahua Apache, and his fighters, found the sustenance, shelter and the strategic advantage to hold off the US Military pursuers of his tribe. And, it was in the Dragoon Mountains, at Council Rock, that he ended the years-long battle with the US in a meeting with General Howard. It was a treaty the US would betray.
Council Rock has been a place of continuous gathering since 200 AD when the Mogollon people settled in the southern Arizona High Desert. They left pictographs on the walls to attest to their residence. The Chiricahua Apache used the area next, augmenting the primitive artwork with that of their own. Today adventurous tourists gather here, in gratefully small numbers, to view the artwork (and never to touch it!), examine the metates where corn was ground, and hopefully to gain a sense of appreciation for this uncommonly beautiful land.
As the sun finally escaped the horizon and we walked back to our cars I could not help but be thankful that God allowed me the grace to know and share this sacred site. I am humbled by His gifts and remain dedicated to being His scribe.
Keywords: Arizona, Council Rock, Dragoon, High Desert, landscapes, Mountains, Nature, Southern Arizona
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