I’m writing an article right now that’s taken me into a number of small communities in the southern CA desert. A few days ago, a friend and I drove out to the towns of Hesperia and Apple Valley. Although they are quite a few miles apart, they are connected by a main thoroughfare that had a few spontaneous shrines along it. The first shrine we passed in Hesperia was for Kimberly:
We drove about a mile down the road before I saw this nearly hidden shrine out of the corner of my eye. The memorial for Bryan is a white cross that’s decorated with flowers and tacked onto a telephone pole:
A few miles away, in Apple Valley, we passed a very visible shrine. It surprised me that such an eye-catching shrine had no name or information on it.
This shrine is particularly interesting, because I can’t tell what kind of a person it is for. The color of the cross and the presence of multiple stuffed animals are common in shrines for children. The American flag is often present in shrines for veterans or active military. I’m not sure what to make of the pail filled with stones. Stones are often left on Jewish gravesites, and I’ve seen pails filled with votive candles at shrines (presumably for passers-by to light if they so choose), but I’ve never seen a pail filled with stones. Of course, there is also the possibility that the stones are in the pail to keep the pail itself at the memorial. Any ideas?