Yesterday I got the opportunity to travel out to the countryside. I’d told Steve I wanted to do this some time ago. So yesterday was the day he did this for me.
I really wanted to catch the changing of the leaves, but we were a little late for that.
For years I’ve driven here and there looking for things I want to photograph. My favorite destination is to drive out in the country.
Finding Beauty In The Mundane:
I might find a cow, a barn, a clump of dead grass, or a pond or field to photograph. I don’t look for anything specific. I just drive aimlessly in the countryside, happy to be alone with my thoughts.
It could be a broken-down car or house or some kind of structure that appeals to me in some way.
Yesterday, Steve chose roads outside of Tulsa. He drove through small towns and into the outer regions between counties.
A Man & His Dog:
Out on a graveled road, a man rode up to the driver’s side of my car on one of those outdoor recreational vehicles. Steve lowered his window to see what he wanted. I was standing just outside the car trying to take photos of a hawk.
The guy just wanted to know what we were doing. I guess it is uncommon to have strangers driving out in his neck of the woods. He was friendly but merely curious as to why we were out there.
I noticed that a black dog followed the guy wherever he went. Stopped when he stopped, took off when the man did.
I guess the guy thought maybe we were up to something. No, Steve told him, we’re just enjoying the countryside and taking photos.
He seemed satisfied with that answer, and off he went on his vehicle with the dog loping along behind him.
I used to do this a lot, drive around aimlessly taking photos, but I haven’t been able to it for some time.
During the drive, I’d tell Steve where to stop, and he’d put his foot on the brake while I stepped outside the car to figure out angles and light.
We drove through little towns closed on Sunday. I got the impression that some of them didn’t have much commerce going on during any day of the week.
Driving Down Lonely Roads:
For those afternoon hours driving, Steve said it probably “helped to blow out the cobwebs” in my car. Because it’s rarely been driven in 5 months. I’d never heard that saying about the cobwebs before.
Winding down lonely and distant roads, wondering what’s just up ahead, felt so freeing. Just to feel the cool wind on my face through the open window was wonderful.
You just never know: there might just be some old structure around the next curve just waiting for me to find it.
I think this is a hawk flying way up high in the sky. The image is indistinct due to the distance. You can only do so much with a zoom lens.
The hawk had been perched on a fence post, but when the guy roared up on his recreational vehicle, I guess it was scared away by the noise.
I was then only able to get a shot of it soaring up high in the sky.
Traveling Down Country Roads:
Driving out to the countryside is one of my very favorite things to do.
There have been holidays when I drove by myself and photographed towns that were closed for the day. It’s the perfect time to wander around without people getting in your way.
I recall one such venture a few years ago that led me to a set of railroad tracks that curved off into the horizon. And I walked along the horizontal planks and took photos of the endless repetition of them.
I particularly like to stumble upon very old cemeteries and take photos of them leaning with age. Graves that are so old they probably aren’t visited much anymore.
There is a stillness in the air when you’re all alone in the countryside.
I like to frame photos through the branches of a tree or kneel down to get a different view. And pausing to photograph something in the distance just beyond tall grasses in a field.
Everything has a story if you take the time to let it tell you. The quiet lets you imagine whispers of distant voices in your head, telling you to go here, turn there.
And something does always seem to be just around the corner, waiting for you to find it.
Thank you, Steve, for this gift I couldn’t yet manage on my own. For those 2-3 hours of your time to go places I’ve never been.
It was such a delightful gift there can be no price tag attached. I so appreciate you taking a Sunday afternoon to do this for me.