Seven Days in the South

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Darkness presses in, interrupted only by oncoming headlights and the green glow of the dashboard panel. Nineties alternative trickles from the speakers filling the air with the occasional melody that is far better than silence. The unfamiliar road ahead is nearly empty and the world in the rearview is black. His tired eyes begin to blur. Brake lights take on the appearance of demonic faces. His body begs for sleep. He grips the steering wheel tighter as he slips further and further into the recesses of his mind.

“I’m in no hurry, and in fact, haven’t been in days. There’s no reason to be, not one single urgent anything. I have no schedule, no place to be other than exactly where I am, and the only thing that might make me move is the nightly chill that creeps in as the sun slips down behind the Sierras. Nothing is wasted, not my time, not my energy.”

What’s now five years ago seems like yesterday, however, his life is not the same as it was when he wrote those words. After publishing a monthly essay for nearly two years, the pressure that he placed upon himself to do so forced him to quit writing completely. In doing so, he lost some part of himself. He bites his tongue to distract his mind, but the effect is short lived. He can’t escape himself and gives in to the flood.

The internal monologue begins. “I’ve come to a point where I’m out of touch with myself. I feel like everything I do is a waste of time and that I have no energy to spare. It’s no secret that I cycle in and out of depression but at the same time I’m not sure what it really means to be happy. Have I ever been and when? Family events and social gatherings just serve as a mirror for me to see what I’m not, reminding me of the past just as much as they show me my failings. It’s too easy to slip back into old patterns based on what they expect out of me. I always assumed that people changed drastically as they grew up, but the truth is simply that we are who we are. I’ll never be anything different because I can only be who I am. I’m still the quiet kid plagued with self-doubt and countless insecurities, and to myself, I’m a failure because that’s not who I want to be. I need to be better. I need to be more.”

He desperately attempts to focus on the road and struggles to hold back tears. Losing at least one battle, he shifts in his seat and tries to breathe. “What’s the point of my life?” As he stares into the dark of the night as if he’s on some lost highway, he knows the answer but it doesn’t help…

About These Photos

The above photos were taken over the course of a week in early November in Northern Alabama and around Tampa Bay, Florida. In a quick trip, I stayed in Horse Pens 40 near Steele, AL, went north to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, then drove south to Tampa & St Petersburg, where I dropped in on the Tampa Zoo and a park in St Petes. I was traveling light with two lenses, an 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 and a 50mm f/1.8. Every image was processed through Lightroom then Photoshop for varying usage of Color Efex Pro 4 and sharpening. A number of the photos are HDR and were processed with Photomatix before Photoshop.

For more writings, check out Get Out! The Complete Writings

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