From the piles of coal, to the metal vents poking up out of the ground, to the bits of pottery and blue glass.
I love the treacherous looking (and so inviting, to me) bridges, and I adore the sharp, wickedly dangerous pieces of twisted, broken metal.
I love the old geezer flashes of imagery I get, and I love coming home, and researching what I've just seen. Was that building a bank? What did they mine, here? Was that a water tower, a coal bin, or something else? And always, always, "What happened here?"
It doesn't matter that many of them were from a mere hundred years ago.
One hundred years is a very recent past. The American West - the old west - however, is worlds away.
I love the Pony Express markers out in the middle of nowhere, and I love stagecoach station sites. I love the rugged, tiny graveyards, and I love the sinister, historical stories.
We read signs about how this was a lookout for Butch Cassidy's gang, and my husband tells stories of "Here is where Butch Cassidy robbed the train, and took the payroll."
Hundreds of years ago, surely. A thousand, maybe.
I'm aware that it's not all fame and glory (of the notorious kind), but it's also the imagery of the prairie skirts and shotguns that I wonder at... the rough hands that farmed this rocky soil.It's hard to see those things in the city, when there are layers and layers of glass buildings, billboards, and neon signs flashing at you.
But getting out into the quiet, you can hear the miners' steps and smell the coal on their dirty faces, and see the bleak in their eyes.
Stumbling over rough ground and crumbling foundations is my way of studying and learning history.
I'll not be trading it.