There is a common essence that binds a region together. This subtle feeling is a combination of an areas cultures, weather, dominant industry, what have you. But the point is, it generates an energy that is unique to that part of the world.
These images are from Lufkin, a small town deep east Texas. During my recent stay, I found myself with ample opportunity to wander around with no particular aim. I discovered that Lufkin was very similar to my home town in a lot of ways-a small, close-knit, farming community. Wandering around Lufkin helped to define feeling that had been riding on the edge of my memory for a while. When I was a kid, I dreamed a million schemes while wandering around hot dusty streets like these. Coming back to similar streets I was reminded of all the feelings I had growing up. It was a mixture of nostalgia, hope, resolve, and, to be honest, loss. Loss of a time when I could imagine anything, when a day was filled with making plans for the future. Sometimes I was so filled with making plans, that I really didn’t appreciate the advantages of growing up in a small town.
Life is change for all of us. With every change in life, with every gain, with every move forward, we also lose something, whether it is a dream of childhood, a regret for what you should have done, or even the loss of a loved one, with every minute we move forward, a minute is left behind. The trick for me is to recognize and appreciate that change.
I don’t like to quote other writers, but I’m making an exception in this case because one phrase hit home during these small-town wanderings:
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon
There are images, scents and and sounds that will be with me forever. Such as the smell of diesel mixed with Texas earth that you find while climbing on an old tractor. Feelings like the heat and silence of an August day, accompanied by a chorus of cicadas. These feelings will always be with me and every time I see, hear and smell them, reminding me of what it was like to live and hope in a small Texas town.