Boulevard of Broken Wings
Do you ever have one of those moments where a random memory pops into your head, unbidden from the recesses of your mind? Yeah, that happened to me the other day. Whatever the trigger was, I found myself remembering last September, as Nikki and I drove from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ, across the red-rock-filled desert on I-10. About a half-hour past Tucson, a strange sight greeted me off in the distance to my left. Hundreds of airplanes sat lined up in row after row about a mile away, at some kind of weird airport. It was just out in the middle of nowhere and there was such an eerie stillness surrounding the place; not a single plane was lifting off or landing. They just sat there, abandoned. I logged it away in the back of my mind, curious to learn more about this oddity but it was eventually forgotten.
Fast forward to the present. For some reason my mind drifted back to that day’s drive and the airport out in the desert. Through a little bit of Google Map magic, I was able to trace my route along I-10 using the satellite view and locate this lonesome landmark. Check it out and see for yourself: Pinal Airpark, a repository for decommissioned commercial aircraft, stored in the dry climate to stave off corrosion in case they ever get pressed back into service. It is a veritable airplane bone-yard.
Why do I share this? Well, I guess this small-town Kansas boy just hasn’t seen anything quite like it, so it struck a chord in my memory and I just had to share it. But it also seems to me that this would make an interesting focal point for a story of some sort. Who works out there? What does there day consist of? What is it like to be surrounded by empty metal shells that once defied gravity and carried hundreds of people up in the air and across the globe, in a feat that just over a century ago seemed like science fiction? What is it like to spend everyday in a monument to the temporary lifespan of the pinnacle of human achievement, a reminder of the finite window of usefulness of both man and machine? Perhaps there is a kernel of creativity that will spring forth from my mind in regards to these varied reflections pin-balling around inside my subconscious. I guess I will have to keep that one in my back-pocket for a rainy day.
So if you are ever driving down that stretch of I-10 northwest of Tucson, take a look out on the horizon and take a gander at a unique and unusual sight.