Two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away at ninety-six. It’s been something of a whirlwind couple of weeks. I did the only thing I ever know to do. I took lots of pictures.
Death feels like such an exotic thing sometimes, but then suddenly you’re going through someone’s possessions with a simple purpose: they don’t need anything anymore. We will all be buried in our nicest set of clothes, and everything else will disperse into the world.
Can’t wait to go back and spend a little more time in one of the most photogenic towns I’ve ever seen. I’m working on a larger piece collecting photos and thoughts from my trip to New Mexico last year; it was transformative and I have a lot more to say about it.
A couple of months ago I visited a dear friend in Oklahoma City. On the way back I stopped by a little spot ten miles west of nowhere near Edmond, Oklahoma…to see a tree. Supposedly this was no ordinary tree; I’d seen pictures of it, heard stories about people driving out of their way to see it — needless to say, I had to experience it for myself.
Except it turns out it was 1) after ten p.m. by the time I made it out there and 2) so, so cold. I tried to take a long exposure photo but the whole thing turned out to be completely out of focus and looked pretty awful.
A loss, right? Not really. As I stood there sipping my hot cocoa, chilled to the bone, looking at this little tree (a dogwood, maybe?) I felt this weird feeling of…well…of standing out in the middle of nowhere by myself but feeling anything but. There’s something to be said about sharing a spot with a whole bunch of people across space and time (some of whom you’ve never met, some of whom you have). Sharing space. It’s something we do every day, but I suspect we rarely think about. It got me thinking so much I’m devoting episode two of my podcast to it — but more on that later.