Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hitching Up, Heading Out

In the crazy rush of preparations to move very far away, I scanned some old photos this afternoon (it was that, or make a hard decision about whether or not to keep some stuff we don't need). They aren't my photos. They were pasted to the black paper pages of an old, moisture-warped album someone had conspicuously thrown away here in Encinal. The man who was at the time collecting garbage for the city thoughtfully saved it for us; why he thought we might want it is its own complicated story in which we figure as -- perhaps the best the two of us could actually hope to do, here -- unusually sympathetic Anglo outsiders in this impoverished, dirty, threadbare town full of decomposing trailer homes and packs of wandering dogs. Still: he brought it over one afternoon, and we were naturally pretty taken with the thing, despite the fact that its invisibly moldy pages made us sneeze.

But then we put it aside. As far as we could tell, the pictures don't bear any relationship to our town after all, as scribbled references on the back seem to situate them in "Cottonwood Falls." That could be one of hundreds of forgotten Texas townships, but it could also be the town of that name in Kansas. The photographs, however, are so beautiful in that melancholic way that old pictures are -- many of them are just coronas of silver at most angles -- that I decided today to scan a number of them before I packed the book away (it's moldy, still, and falling apart, but I can't subject it to the repeated indignity of mingling with trash; instead, I'll wrap it in brown paper, in which it can decompose in a garage north of Houston).

And when I saw this picture again, I thought of my own nom de blog and its goat-association. Along with the pang of guilt for not posting so much for so long (but, hey, where the hell's MT?), I couldn't help noting the implication of a journey in the photo. I can't imagine where, as I can't really imagine this wall-hugging goat (or any goat) putting up with this shit for too long. Still: it's a journey, and I'm a sucker for analogy.

I'm looking forward to posting, power outages and all, from where I find myself in June and beyond. I'll even try to arrange for some more timely photography. For now, though, here's one more rescued from the trash, a Texas one after all, it appears, from Galveston:


helmut said...

That's awesome, Barba. Thanks for sharing this. And I imagine those couple of monkeys, Frenchie and Ruth, would appreciate someone somewhere sometime having honored them in a way they never could have imagined.

I'm really glad you'll keep it up from your faraway place. When do we get to say where that place is?

helmut said...

Oh, and no guilt ever.