Candela 1997

It has been almost 25 years to the day since this picture was taken. On that day I realized, though the words had not yet been spoken, that I was about to be divorced.

I was in Bustamante for one of the Texas Speleological Association Grutas del Palmito restoration trips, and we took a side trip to a cave called Carrizal, which is near the town of Candela, a little ways north of Bustamante. The train tracks are still there, but only for freight, so the old train station was already in some disrepair, though it was still standing, and access wasn’t problem, so we pulled over on the way and wandered about a bit and took some shots. This was originally a slide in my old Pentax K-1000 that I got around to scanning some years later.

It wasn’t until yesterday when I put together the visual metaphor, from my vantage point in the hills, 25 years hence. I was still drinking, and would proceed that September and October to blot out the divorce and my crumbling life with alcohol, leading to a culmination on my birthday on Halloween when I came to the sudden realization that I was going to kill myself before I killed the pain.

In the photo, I am standing in front of a wall. In between me and the green grass and hills in the distance, the path through lies in ruins. They say the only way out is through (whoever they are) and so I find myself faced with crawling through the wreckage (Dave Edmunds style) – the shards and splinters of a broken life to get beyond the wall. Out in the daylight on the other side lies a pile of rubble – my past, that I must set right before I make it to the green fields beyond, and eventually the mountaintop in the distance.

Today I’m standing on the mountaintop looking down – I don’t like everything I see from on high, but I know my part in it has been a straight path through.

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