Sunday, March 22, 2009
Hooker Road off U.S. Highway 425 southeast of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, may be the textbook definition of the road less traveled. I was shooting on the site of the old home pictured above for about two hours each on two successive days and saw two vehicles on Hooker Road, one of which was my truck.
I shot in the late afternoon Saturday and returned Sunday morning when the light was flowing from another direction. This is not the first time I’ve shot this old domicile. But it is the first time I’ve shot it with current imaging technology. Not much has changed, I mused on the first day, save the deterioration that comes with age.
The second day, on the return trip, evidence to the contrary gave me pause to think. About a half-mile from the old house there was a recently deceased possum in the road, no doubt the big loser in a possum-vehicle encounter. After I arrived at the old home site, I noticed that some idiot bad citizen had jettisoned a spent Busch 30-pack right where I was about to step across the roadside ditch.
I pitched the beer-rind into the bed of the truck and proceeded to amble up to the house. I whiffed an olfactory piquancy not present the day before. Although not overpowering, the lingering aroma of a skunk (or skunks) wafted on the breeze. Having made that identification, I heard the distinctive sounds of a “peckerwood” practicing the genetically ordained activity that is his namesake.
Hmmm. And I was laboring under the delusion that no change had occurred. In less than 24 hours, one of the neighbors had been killed, trash had been dumped in the front yard (probably by the same miscreant who zapped the possum), some animal controversy had thrown a nearby skunk into the defensive mode, and a recent arrival was busy building a new home. Makes you wonder how many other details you miss on a daily basis.
The old home wore the appearance of former prosperity. There was an outbuilding (not a privy, although you can rest assured there was one at one time), a barn, and a covered dug well, plus a long non-functional drilled pump well. All of this is on a spacious lot facing a bayou. Nice view from the front porch. Until the “skeeters” began to swarm. Perhaps citronella candles helped.
Leaning precariously on weakened timbers, the old residence wobbles on its last legs. In another year or so, depending on the fickle whims of Mother Nature, the old home will become a grisly stack of moldy old lumber. And the world will keep turning.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.