Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I'm On The Road To Find Out

Yesterday was Memorial Day and I wanted to do something more than barbecue, so I did a little research on military cemeteries and found that the closest one to me (in Illinois) is the Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, about two and a half hours south of here. I thought that was going to be a little far to drive to shoot rows of flags and headstones in uncertain light (rain was forecast), and being a holiday I really didn't want to wake-up at two o'clock in the morning. I also discovered Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee, about an hour away, and so I mapped a route there. Still, I wasn't keen on waking-up at three o'clock and I was wracking my brain for an alternative when I remembered that Fort Sheridan has a cemetery and it's only twenty minutes away. I could wake-up at four o'clock and be there before sunrise without breaking a sweat.

Good move not driving down to Elwood. I later learned that President Obama was going to be speaking there and, in retrospect, there was little likelihood of my getting anywhere near the place on short notice. Also, he got absolutely drenched in the torrential downpour that eventually ensued and I wasn't up for getting wet, either.

Fort Sheridan turned out to be the perfect compromise: close-by, sleep-in, okay light and I was home with about five minutes to spare before it really started pouring. Coffee at my desk... priceless!

Not a bad shoot, but something struck me as I made my pictures. Two months ago I was driving across Connecticut, having survived the flood in Providence, Rhode Island (the day before), when I passed a farm that had an awful lot of crosses planted in the field in front of the farmhouse, close to the road. It was a striking scene and, despite the heavy overcast, I stopped to photograph it. I spent only a few minutes there, but it's been in the back of my mind for the two months since because I really don't know what it means. Yesterday, it was brought to the fore by one of my compositions in the cemetery and now I have questions.....

Is it a memorial? To whom? Fallen soldiers in our recent incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan? A protest? Against what? Anti-war or pro-life? Maybe the Catholic church? Religion in general? What is it? Do you know?


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