What I’ve grown to love about the Thumb most of all since I’ve moved away from it is the final 40 or so miles of the trip, past field after field, silo after silo, farm house after farm house, fresh air the whole way (though fresh is not always synonymous with good-smelling).
I love taking different routes in: M-25, M-24, M-53, M-15…all offering something a bit different, though surely sharing the theme of flat farm land worked by blue-collar hands.
Today’s trip will be a little early in the day for this time of year. I’ll arrive in Pigeon around 8 p.m. 9:30 would probably be ideal for the low-sun, windows-down, tepid-air entry I prefer. Turn the music up, hang the arm out the window, lean back against the head rest and just thank the Lord for the opportunity to relax and enjoy good roots and great memories…and the chance to make more with great friends and family.
Every time I make the trip, I long to begin the process of fulfilling one of my life dreams: publishing a photography / essay book on the Thumb–maybe even the greater Pigeon area in particular. I’m not sure who would be interested in it besides the town’s 1000 or so residents, but it’s not like I’d be doing it for the lucrative profit-potential it presents. I’d just like to do it–even if it were self-published.
One summer (I think it was before my junior year of college), I spent a lot of my free time driving around and photographing the land: beaches, corn and wheat fields, sunsets, farm equipment, the towns, the sky…whatever caught my eye. I LOVED some of them. Just loved them.
I took the slides to Ann Arbor where I was meeting some friends one weekend and never saw them again. We searched high and low, but couldn’t come up with them. My standing suspicion is that someone nabbed them out of my car overnight. But who in Ann Arbor would want pictures of the Thumb? If they were stolen, the robber probably took one quick look through and just tossed them. Makes me sick to think about.
I have a few of the images still ingrained in my mind, so I’d like to try re-creating sometime. I figure if I spent a good 12-16 weeks living with my parents throughout a year in one-week stints, I could probably gather enough images for a book. Then I’d need to do some serious research on the history of Pigeon and the Thumb and come up with some 20,000-30,000 word essay as accompaniment. It would be a several-year long project…but something I would love doing.
Reason #214 why I should be a freelance writer, photographer and designer.
That’s the second thing on my mind.
P.S. — During the past 30 seconds or so, I’ve nearly convinced myself to start cutting into my 12-16 weeks by using some vacation time up there this fall… Vacationing in my hometown? Sounds pretty lame. But then again, it sounds pretty good… :)