As a child, a young girl with coltish legs and dusky skin, I spent many anxious hours prowling the low desert and the craggy foothills of southeastern Arizona's Huachuca Mountains— anxious hours not just because I was trespassing on the forbidden Cristo Rey land grant but also because I was searching among the rocks and cactus-stubbled dunes for the Ghost Lady, hoping and praying I could get a glimpse of her and at the same time scared to death that I really would.
Some say she haunted that area of Cristo Rey because she was a tormented wraith looking for the lover denied her in life. And others say she rode the area, its barren deserts and rock-clad mountains and lush, grassy valleys, because her soul was condemned to wander Cristo Rey until the fifty thousand acres—and the Stronghold—were at last returned to her heirs.
Of course, I preferred to believe the latter . . . perhaps because at that young age my childish mind could not conceive of a love so great that it would transcend time and space. I had yet to taste of love’s binding passion. But in all likelihood I chose to believe that version of the tale because even then I knew, like my Ghost Lady, my soul would know no peace until I possessed what rightfully belonged to me . . . Cristo Rey.