I drive by this roadside memorial every day (that I work in my actual office) on the way home. One day, just before Christmas, there was a car parked near the marker and as I passed, I saw a woman getting some red plastic flowers out of the trunk of her car. I’ve seen many roadside markers and this was the only time I’d ever seen anyone leaving anything at one of them. It’s a bit of a mystery: many of the markers that I pass often have flowers or other decorations that are obviously new, or that change with the seasons, but I never seen it happening.
So earlier this month, on a day when ice and freezing fog were in the forecast and I had my camera with me, I stopped at that marker with the Christmas-time flowers. And that’s how I learned that his marker is for Lil Mark, who was 33 when he died last summer. And I now believe that was his mom I saw, putting flowers out for the first Christmas she didn’t have Mark with her. It is hard to imagine a sadder task.
Hockley County, Texas
Maybe you didn’t know that I got my start as a photographer when I spent a decade shooting roadside crosses. I tried to stop at as many as I could and then, one day, I was done. I still notice them but rarely stop. This one, though, caught my attention the other morning.
Dawson County, Texas
PS: The only place the roadside cross work currently exists is on this old blog.
I got my start in the photography world a while back, spending a decade photographing roadside memorials (usually crosses) along highways. I still watch for the memorials, but rarely stop to photograph them.
This one, though, needed to be photographed.
My photographer pal and I met up in New Mexico last month – we had less than 24 hours to shoot before he headed off to take a class at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, so we were busy. We were drawn the tiny town of Puerto de Luna, visiting it two times during our very brief adventure. On our one New Mexico morning, we were on a bridge over the Pecos River and saw this cross down below, just above the water. And it seemed to need us to look at it from a more intimate distance.
The top of the cross’s arm is engraved with “Old School” but we will never know why. Such is the mysterious way of roadside memorials – they are at one intensely personal and completely mysterious.
Puerto de Luna, New Mexico