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Enchantment

Tuesday of this week, I went to Enchanted Rock. Sitting here at my kitchen table searching for the words to convey all the thoughts that come to me when I consider the trip, I realize it’s not really possible, and most of those words I should probably keep to myself anyway. It was a day trip, pretty much spur of the moment, although keeping in mind that it’s spring break we did make a reservation online the night before: that’s a lot of planning, for us. I had been trying to get out that way with my daughter for a couple of years, but we wanted to camp, and camping in Texas during the summer isn’t much fun, plus lately the only time I get with her has to be spent on the Have To’s of life (school, school stuff, extracurricular activities and their accompanying stuff, dentist, doctor appointments, homework, etc.) rather than the Want To’s. You can’t spend your life waiting for the right moment or having enough time to do things, you gotta just go for it when the moment strikes. And that moment was Tuesday.

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It had been 23 years or so since I was last at Enchanted Rock. There was a field trip in 8th grade (I think??) and a brief stop in college. I left Texas shortly after I graduated, and since returning I felt like I needed to wait for little legs to be strong enough to make the climb without too much bellyaching. Considering the number of little kids I saw there, I have no idea why I waited. There were plenty of them running around & getting continually shouted at by their parents. The wind at the top was swift, apparently carrying their voices right past their children’s ears.

These are the stairs to the parking area, not up the batholith

These are the stairs to the parking area, not up the batholith

Enchanted Rock really is a magical place. There’s something magnificent about seeing it in the distance, and how breathtakingly steep the ascent seems to be. Vertigo when you stop midway to turn around and take in the view. The breeze building and whipping around your head to combat the noise of your beating heart.

I packed many cameras, since after all it could easily be another 23 years before I visit again. The hero with whom I share my life kindly offered to carry the backpack, so I was free to photograph. I made a lot of pictures with my Polaroid One Step 2; it had been months & months since I last exposed any instant film. One of the packs I used was expired Impossible Film (purchased from my friend Ruby); I hadn’t used expired instant film in this camera before, and the results surprised me.

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After my initial reaction of “oh so this is how people make those slightly destroyed looking Polaroids” I had a moment of disappointment, then I smiled at how art imitates life in the sense that things always happen exactly the way they are supposed to. Somehow, these photographs seem to have cottoned on to my thoughts, the place that geologic wonder holds in my memory. . . . . the nature of memory itself.

This one in particular has a lot of meaning for me - the burning bush of memory combined with the broken state of my love affair with my home state. I realize that probably sounds like a bunch of ridiculous artistic babble, but it makes perfect sense in my mind.

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From a photographic standpoint, I find Enchanted Rock to be a gold mine of character-laden trees and photogenic boulders. I made a lot of medium format images that I will more than likely share sometime in the future.

It’s funny how you can forget the things that work to heal you. Getting out into the Hill Country, especially out where all that’s required of me is hiking gear, snacks, and water, has always had a positive effect on me. Driving home, in the early evening spring Texas sun, I felt cracks letting the light back in to my heart. We stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream. I photographed out the window. I felt hope that this springtime might be a time of new growth for so many things.

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All images Polaroid Originals One Step 2 and either Polaroid Originals I-type film or expired Impossible I-type film. I love that camera. “Scanned” with the app.