On the Tidewater Trail 2, 2012
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One of the things about having a daughter who lives in New York is that her trips home after Christmas are almost always adventures. Over the years we’ve dealt with broken buses, cancelled flights, non-operating trains, blizzards and washouts.
This year the weather was nice for Christmas. But the day after, when my daughter was supposed to fly back to New York, the weather turned ugly in New York. Throughout the day all of the flights to any of the New York-area airports from here were cancelled. But the airline insisted that her 5:00 p.m. flight would not only fly, but fly on time.
We dutifully showed up at the airport well ahead of time. In other seasons we have a quick hug and a kiss in the drop off lane and are on our respective ways. But on this occasion I brought a good book and was determined not to leave the airport until I was sure her plane was off the ground and well on its way.
I’ll save you all the details about the angry passengers and the fight between a flight attendant and the gate agent and merely jump to the point about four hours later when the flight was cancelled and all the passengers and their luggage were unceremoniously dumped out onto the now rainy tarmac.
The flying conditions weren’t any more promising the next day. So I drove my daughter to Washington the next morning to catch a fast train to New York. We made record time driving north. The drive back was another thing. After inching south for almost sixty miles at a pace slower than walking, I got off the Interstate highway and instead took an old country highway that runs for much of its way along the western shore of the Rappahannock River. This route can be alternately scenic and boring. But at least it moves.
It also offered me the chance to find something interesting to photograph. I was barely ten miles into the countryside when I came across the scene shown above. I was drawn initially to the photographic prospects of the partially burned house. But as I got closer—and purposely from an angle that made it arguably plausible that I hadn’t seen the several “No Trespassing” signs on the other side of the house—I was more attracted to the trees beside the house.
I didn’t go in the house and made quick business of making the photographs I wanted. But I wasn’t fast enough to avoid the scrutiny of a neighboring farmer who sent his linebacker-proportioned teenage son lumbering across the field to question me. I told him I was interested in the trees. The kid tried to goad me into admitting that my intentions were really to plunder the house. I pointed to my car parked far across a field and safely and obliquely from any angle that would have exposed me to a “No Trespassing” sign. He didn’t buy my story, but I kept walking back across the field toward my car and eventually he gave up and wandered back in the other direction.
On the Tidewater Trail 6, 2012