Nick Cave’s “Murder Ballads” has been in the CD player for a few days now. Maybe not the best for a nice ride in the country, or perhaps perfect for the burned –out barn offering partial shelter for two broken down RVs tarped and strewing extension cords into the adjacent shack. I passed several similar scenes in new terrain.
It wasn’t totally new. I had been on this gravel washboard before, a year ago, short a couple weeks. I have been trying to find it again, unsuccessful until today, just like the roll of 35mm slide film that holds scenes from the last time I was there. There is a woods.
Yet, I’m out to take more photos of burnings, and there are quite a few happening as I drive. Although I am in the forest, I can smell the grass fires.
The road leaves the woods into the woods’ future, a clear-cut, and soon I am back into grass fields. The burns are older, browner, and therefore I am not motivated to stop. Plus, I am on a ridge of switchbacks. Shortly thereafter I am on familiar two-lane blacktop and head in the direction that can eventually lead home.
I am still on a ridge. There are panoramas everywhere but I am heading west into the late afternoon sun. As I round a corner I see a turnout, and below and behind the turnout I see wisps of smoke. I pull over to find that I am too late to get shots of a fire some 500 feet below me. It now smolders. How cool would that have been? I gently kick myself for the series of photos from which the above one is part. As it turns out, lousy shots too. I snap off a few more just for good measure and head off. It’s getting near picking time.
Fires continue to burn in all directions.
I am not satisfied with anything I have shot on this pass, even though I have snapped off quite a few. And now, as more smoke fills the air, it will be difficult to get any pictures that are not hazy. It occurs to me that this project may have run its course, redundant, yet the prospect of this being the last year for such burnings makes me turn off onto yet another side road. Posterity.