We head south on 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra, applauding the wall of mountains upthrusting stark to our right, bare peaks with rivulets of snow and glacier that drop abruptly to a desert of muted greens and reds and browns. To our left, low brown mountains and flats stretch on for States.
"Who would choose to live here?"
We discuss. To be away from people? To hammer yourself against the dry? Because of this stark beauty? Not crossing our minds: because you were forced here. Then on our right, the small wooden sign.
YES we need to get to Death Valley before the heat of the day YES we are running late. But Manzanar.
I had forgotten.
We pull in onto the gravel, slowly drive the several mile circumference. They've taken it all down, a few small signs mark where the living blocks stood, the administrative buildings. The hospital, the garden, the dojo.
"Why have they taken it down?" Annie asks.
"Maybe for shame," I say.
We get out at the cemetery, a white marker shooting upward, a few graves marked with stones. It's hot already, the sun reflecting off the gravel. Two orange-black beetles chase each other. Pennies and faded paper cranes on the graves.
At Auschwitz, I couldn't feel the presence of ghosts.
Here are some pictures I took.
And as a reminder, a little background.