Blog Archives

boys at play (beside World War II ruins)

As unbelievable as it seems to someone whose city was never bombed, there are still building ruins in the heart of Palermo left over from 1943, when Allied and German forces battled for control of the island. (Read more here.)

One of the ruins was very near where we stayed, and the wire fencing on the left side of the photo surrounds the rubble. But, even with war ruins that are almost eighty years old, life in the rest of the neighborhood goes on, with boys playing a made-up game as two young women strolled along. (And as a quartet of photographers watched and, possibly, made more than a few images.)

Palermo, Sicily
photographed 8.31.2022

gone to the dogs

There was only one reason I came here: I wanted to see what a place called “Nimrod” looked like. Mostly it looked like a church and a cemetery.

But there was this abandoned building; the sign over the door was illegible, so I don’t know what it was. But it was something related to dogs, and to trophies of dogs, and even a dog mural. Somehow these context clues made more mysterious.

Nimrod, Texas
photographed 8.7.2022

if you have a complaint

That little sign in the window says, “If you have a complaint…”

The woman I met just down the block had plenty of complaints. She started our conversation by saying, “Can I hep yew?” in a way that made it clear that what she really want to “hep” me do was leave.  But then she got to talking (as we say in Texas) and I learned some things:

  • There are “about” 58 people in Putnam
  • She’s 66 and her husband is 68 and they are the youngest people in town.
  • She hates living in Putnam. Just hates it. Always has.
  • Her dream is to move to Abilene.
  • People in Putnam are mean. They won’t talk to you.
  • She hates it there.
  • Everyone moved there just to be left alone.
  • She just hates it.

It was hard to see an end to the conversation – once she got started she definitely warmed to her topic! – so I wished her a good day and told her that I hoped her dream of moving to Abilene came true. She said, “Oh I cain’t move until my husband dies. He ain’t leavin’ here.”

And ever since then, I’ve worried about her husband’s long-term life expectancy.  If you know what I mean.

Putnam, Texas
photographed 8.7.2022

…and the walls came down, 3

I spent the hour I had to fill up walking around the collapsed church wall, taking photos and getting a little bit teary thinking of how one of the things I’d come to count on seeing in Santa Rosa was just…gone.

I presume that the thunderstorm’s winds the afternoon before had pushed those walls down, so that meant they were only standing for an hour or so after I saw them leaning away from the rest of the building.

The thing is that people drove by while I was there and no one stopped or slowed down or even (as far as I could tell) glanced over to see what had happened. It hurt my feelings, which is sort of ridiculous and also made perfect sense.

Now I am worried that by the time I get back over there, the other three walls will be down, too.

Saint Rose of Lima Cemetery
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
photographed 7.31.2022

…and the walls came down, 2

I’ve been here many times, so many times that I nearly didn’t go on this particular day. I had an hour or so to wander and without making a conscious decision to go back, I found myself making the turn from Lake Drive to South 3rd Street.

I was a half-block away when I saw the devastation. It quite literally took my breath away. And it illustrates why going back to a familiar location is not a bad idea: even if you think you know what’s there, you may be surprised.

Saint Rose of Lima Cemetery
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
photographed 7.31.2022

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