The Phoenix area is so very beautiful. It has a rugged beauty unique to the Southwest. There has been so much growth in the past two decades that most places look very new and clean. It is attractive. A bit crowded in places, but attractive nonetheless.

While vacationing in the Phoenix area, my wife remarked about the Indian symbols stamped and carved into the walls. And how many walls there were.

The walls were everywhere. I first thought about them while driving on Route 101, a major freeway encircling Phoenix. I’m sure that the walls along the freeway act as sound blockers. They seem architecturally well-designed and fit into the “flavor” of the Southwest. Off the 101 there were more walls, this time surrounding resorts, hotels, businesses, malls, apartment and housing complexes. Everything is surrounded by walls. Maybe the walls are there as a preventative to wind-borne dust. Maybe they are there to provide a little bit of privacy for those homes that abut major roads and expressways. Their overall effect is to hide any beauty – or ugliness – behind them.

The walls are barriers. They provide a way for the millions of people down here to break the area’s vastness into smaller segments that they can grasp. They help people to define a space around them that helps them to call it their own. They provide a sense of (false) security. They are something to hide behind.

My management position at my company often requires that I mask my true feelings behind a façade of authority. It’s my career wall. It’s a wall of aloofness. I have also built walls that hide my feelings from my family, as well as my friends.

The life behind my eyes is very different than the one that is exposed to others.


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