Have you ever been to a place and wondered who else has been there?
My wife and I were driving around in Ft. Stockton, TX, a few years ago looking for things to photograph. It was a warm winter day with lots of sunshine and clear skies. I don't know if others have driven down the same roads and streets for the same purpose. I do know that someone went down one road and left a sign marking their journey. They left an unusual and non-damaging posting of their being at that one spot.
It was a stuffed bear on a mesquite tree...in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road.
I knew someone that use to do thing like that. He had a good sense of humor and a vivid imagination. That was my dad. He was quiet and reserved, a very hard worker even after he got to his mid 60s.
We use to work on a survey crew. We spent most of our time out in the boonies and would come upon items dumped by people on the side of the road. One day we came upon an old sofa, a broken end table and a broken floor lamp. I was the crew chief and took time to catch up on my notes while seating in the Blazer. My dad and Tio, the other chainman, were seating on the tailgate marking the stakes we would use later during the day. After a few minutes I looked up to see my dad messing with the items on the side of the road. He set the table on one side of the sofa and the lamp on the other. He sat on the sofa and opened up a newspaper to read. It was a disconcerting sight. Cars would drive by and slow down to look a this man sitting on a sofa with a lamp and a table next to it reading a newspaper on the side of the road.
Another time we come upon a dead deer. A vehicle had just hit it. My dad dragged it off the road. He tucked the legs underneath the body and then took a stake and drove it into the ground next to the deer. He used a piece of rope to tie the dears head to the stake making the deer look like it was laying down resting with its head up looking at the traffic go by. We worked the area for most of the day and could see cars slowing down to look at the deer. Some drivers would honk and kids would yell at it trying to get it to react to them.
If he found a boot or shoe he would put it over a fence post. He was fond of taking dead snakes and coiling them next to a survey point or property corner and propping up their heads with small sticks. He new the next surveyor would get a good scare out of it. Anyways, I worked with my dad for close to 20 years. I knew him as my father all my life but those 10 years allowed me to know him as a friend. I got to see his full personality. I love those days spent with him working.
One day I went to photograph some graffiti I had seen in Waco. My son went with me. We found a lot of tags under an overpass. These road signs are more damaging and show some disregard for the property owner. I photographed them because they are still signs left by someone who has been at that same place. I took a picture of my son next to some of the graffiti. It's a very good photo. I like the contrast between his image and the outline of the silhouette on the wall.
There are many posting left by those who walk ahead of us. Sometimes we missed seeing them because we are in to big a hurry to get where we are going. I love looking for them and then trying to figure out what the person was trying to tell those of us whom one day would follow the same road. Now some signs are non-damaging and some create a lot of damage. I am not condoning leaving signs that damage others property, but I still look for all signs. I prefer to find the kind that my dad left, the ones that make you wonder who was there and what made them leave that sign, like the bear in the mesquite tree. Was it their bear? Was it something they found while walking the road? Were they going somewhere? Who were they?
What about you, what road signs have you left?