We find ourselves in a near remote part of Oklahoma, where Jacob is hard at work for the next few months. We have been driving back and forth through a chain of small towns, strung together by I-40. Towns like this once inspired stories, they were the perfect settings for my romance with nostalgia. Then the motor lodges. Thrilling! They were the embodiment of everything I loved and living in one was the closest thing to time travel.
Being in an apathetic, small town would infuse me with an indescribable energy. I would instantly fall in love with what had been deserted. I was curious. No more. These past two weeks have been quite difficult. Traveling from small town to small town with a baby, the isolation and the lack of resources...disadvantages.
Small towns are now inconvenient and frustrating cells. Motor lodges are bio-hazards, alive with nothing but mold, posing a danger to my baby's health. Those old, empty streets no longer have anything to offer me. Where are the pediatricians? Where are the grocery stores and do they offer organic vegetables so I can make August some good baby food? What is here for children? What is the water quality like?
Paris, TX, where these photos were shot, was once a destination for me and a girl I once knew. I was there for all of a week and it was too long. It was in Paris that I realized I no longer enjoyed the things I once did, like photographing the forgotten. Now, we are in Okemah, Oklahoma. Old me would have been excited to travel to Okemah, Oklahoma. There isn't a real grocery store in this town, no fresh produce. I spotted fresh eggs for sale along a desolate back road but kept driving. I don't know what the soil quality is like here, I thought, and if I eat a contaminated eggs, she drinks contaminated milk.
I'm a mommy and as a result I have a mommy brain. I have been re-wired to insure that my baby is properly cared for. I notice and care about things that never occurred to me before. I surprise myself. I can sniff out the makings of a freak accident. I have been equipped with some sort of sensory device that goes off even before I spot a threat. In fact, it is so new, I don't always know what to do when I receive warnings in the form of "gut-feelings". I only know that this means to be aware. I know that when my chest feels tight I need to start heading home or find an area to get comfortable in because August will want to nurse in exactly five minutes.
I don't sound like much fun, a real square who has turned her head on adventure... Truth be told, there is one little person who laughs at everything I do, finds me terrifically interesting and fun. I take more photos than ever before and find myself very busy. While dilapidated buildings continue their fall along boring streets, August demands I move forward and seek out pullulating places. I struggle to find solutions to predicaments that arise with living in a remote area. Things are still exciting, just not out there so much as right here.
Things are different. At least for now, I don't think small, desolate towns are much fun anymore.