As I crossed the county line, I noticed that the sun was shining. By the time I was 90 miles outside of Tuscaloosa, it was so bright that I could barely see. It is not that I don’t love this town — I do — but there is something exhilarating about leaving everything you know behind, with nothing but a clear horizon and a straight road ahead.
A last-minute shoot for The Mobile Register took me to Thomaston, Ala. today to photograph a new cultural arts center. As the miles slipped away, I found my mind wandering, daydreaming of another time, another world. I passed rolling pastures blanketed with yellow buttercups and accented with cattle of every color. With a smile, I realized that I had lost cell phone service. It was going to be a very good day. I was a hundred miles from nowhere and exactly where I wanted to be.
After I shot the photographs, I spent some time talking to the locals, gathering story ideas and making contacts. I lingered over lunch at a streetside cafe in Faunsdale, curled up by the window as I watched the rain fall and remembered another rainy afternoon so long ago. I wandered through antique stores, chatting idly with the shop owners as I lightly fingered fine silver brushes, delicate china, yellowed books of poetry so brittle they crumbled in my hands.
Far too soon, it was time to return to Tuscaloosa, to a life I know so well that sometimes it feels written in indelible ink. As I crossed the county line I was greeted by the vibration of my cell phone. I was home.
Music of the day: Hey Pretty by Poe with Mark Danielewski (lyrics)