For some years Joel Fowler and I have made day trips to some small locations in the vast landscape of West Texas. His photos and my notes detail the trips.
November 10, 2013
Joel and I went searching for Autumn yesterday on a secluded stretch of Road 205 in Somervell County. Dense cedar breaks interspersed with oak, ash, pecan and elm were tangled in the understory so that fences weren't necessary to define boundaries. Only the road cutting through dense, sometimes damaged cedar trees and other vegetation linked us to the ribbon of civilization deep in a mysterious forest. Spots of yellow, lime green, orange and red color clung to branches and vines both high and low. Creeks and low water crossings gave way to yet other dense scenes that at once created a certain tension and foreboding while at the same time soothed and renewed the spirit. Strange juxtaposition of man and nature, met at Autumn's beginning.
Joel and I had an enchanting day yesterday in Jack County where we explored the places of my growing up and took photos of fall foliage. One especially haunting place was Dark Corner where there is a cemetery and abandoned one-room church. Isn’t that a wonderful name—Dark Corner—filled with foreboding, mystery. An anthropologist would have loved seeing the headstone and inscriptions, several children’s. And some of the graves were embellished with rounded mounds of concrete in which were embedded muscle shells running in a vertical and horizontal pattern. Sea shells have often appeared on tombstones but the ones I’ve seen are embossed into the granite or marble. These were, of course, homemade things. There were also cairns but instead of piled rock these were great chunks of stone stacked in a kind of pattern. They were unmarked; some of the same kind of stones were placed upright and used, obviously, to mark someone’s grave, but whose was unknown. Just over the hill, but out of sight until you drove on up the dirt road, were dozens of wind turbines dotting other hills. The contrast was surreal—an old, old cemetery holding the bones of some of the very earliest settlers in Jack County, their headstones like index tabs to the distant past; and turbines standing like sentinels on the ramparts, gathering the winds with their trinity of blades--weapons to grant access to an uncertain future. Dark Corner—yes, indeed.