I pulled off the road in August 2013 to take this photo because that blazing thatch of black-eyed Susans shot up from the ditch like defiance. It wasn’t until I was out of the car and raising the camera that I noticed the old house. This past December I decided to drive that road again to see how the old house looked with the sky blue and the wildflowers dried to umber. But the old house was gone, the oaks cut down, the hillock smooth and traceless. Erasing things and starting over is America’s blessing and curse. Our propensity to move on to the next thing is why we rarely hold an international grudge for long. Many of our high school seniors couldn’t tell you who we fought in World War II, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The ancient remembered grudges of the Old World have added little to humanity. But our constant repurposing of the American landscape does make photography important for remembering; for preserving the lovely and the odd, the everyday things that have no advocate to keep them here. The owners of the old house behind the patch of black-eyed Susans had every right to tear it down. It may have been miserable with mold. It may have been the private domicile of possums for more than a generation. But I’m glad I took the photo when I did, in late August, when the house was standing. It makes me remember our rural generation who lived in spare white houses on lone hills and worked fields. The photo also helps me to remember to seize the day – or take that photo, now. Images are fleeting.

Copyright RC


#photography #preservationphotography #ruralphotography #wildflowerphotography #photographyblog

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