The story within the story

I set out to write – and show – my story, one of taking photos of this old abandoned truck.
A story about how we frequently drive by it on the way to our favorite walking trail by the river.
A story of seizing the moment and exploring with my camera in the soft light of the late afternoon.

sideview of truck with missing door

Resting in a ravine near the river, it is barely noticeable in the warmer months. Once winter sets in, though, its faded green paint peeks through the bare branches.

view of truck from the road

Each week, my photography group has a new set of prompts. We all have differing approaches; some in our group go on a scavenger hunt, seeking to photograph all prompts. Others, like me, will focus on one or two, making them a week-long project. On this particular week, one of our prompts was “made of metal”.

rusty door of abandoned truck

“How about that old truck?” Greg suggested.
Perfect. Years ago, I took photos of it from the road, posting it to my old blog, Away for the Weekend.
Now it was time to get closer – finding a path down into the ravine – forging one if necessary.

But really – the more interesting story is the one I don’t know.
“How did you get here?” I asked the truck – my frozen fingers fumbling with the controls on my camera.

rusty truck with spray paint on back

Crunching through the snow, looking for a different angle – “Well someone sure did want to keep you. Why are you still here?”

Greg and Chessie – always my partners in crime – wandered around the area, exploring, on this bitterly cold afternoon. They are good sports.
Finally, though, no longer able to feel my fingers in my gloves, we head for home. “Made of metal”, I posted to my photography group. My friend, Sarah, (Paisley Rain Boots) responded “And you have this sitting near your house!?! I think you need to go back with the macro lens.”

Greg and Chessie on the trail

Ugh – of course she was right – it’s that getting up closer for details thing again. Always, always, I need to be pushed on that. So – a few days later, under another gray sky – the snow melted, the weather a bit warmer – we returned.

rusted door with spray painted "save"

Hmmmm – what is it that I should be taking photos of? Chippy paint?

rusty grate

“Rusted Metal?” (Again, I found myself more interested in what was beyond this rusty screen than the screen itself)

Blurry Greg and Chessie through rusted grate

“How old are you?” I continued asking questions of the truck. “Who drove you into this ravine? Where were you going?”
This particular road dead ends at the walking trail. Somehow, I was doubting this as the destination. Perhaps an early morning hunting expedition – early snowfall, slippery roads? Possibly.
Unresponsive, the truck held its secrets tightly.

The story hidden within my own – this is the story I want to know.
When you see something that has been abandoned or lost, do you wish for it to tell you its story? Do you make one up?

I wish you all a wonderful week, and for all who celebrate – a very happy Thanksgiving!

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Sarah | 25th Nov 19

    Here’s some thoughts. Would what is beyond the grill be as interesting if you could see it clearly? There is such a mood shift between those and the more wide view ones, which is GREAT and exactly what you want. I kept trying figure out what else really stood out to me between the wide view and the fill the frame ones. I think there is a depth in the fill the frames ones. That first grill shot!!! Divine!!! It is the light and dark contrast, there are definitely more blacks in those grill shots which creates amazing depth, and makes me want to know what it beyond.

    Great story, and well told from many angles. We may never know the answers to the questions, but the made up story is maybe better.

    • Karen Lakis | 25th Nov 19

      Thanks for always being there to give me that extra push!

  2. Cathy Hubmann | 27th Nov 19

    These are wonderful! I love old rusty meetal. When I see something abandoned or lost I like to make up stories.

  3. Debbie | 29th Nov 19

    this truck was the perfect subject for your prompt. i am drawn to old trucks, any truck, the more rust the better!! nice that greg thought of it and i love the way you described getting to it!! i like the fence too, it is a real beauty!! i hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!!

  4. Carola Bartz | 2nd Dec 19

    Beautiful and interesting photos as well as a great story. I have to admit that I’m not drawn to cars or trucks no matter what – they are stinking convenience that we unfortunately cannot live without – but your images make this old rusty guy mysterious and interesting. My thoughts – if I had seen it – would probably have been “who drove that truck in there and then left it there? why would you leave something there in nature? Argh!” It’s always good to see a different perspective (literally!)
    To answer your question at the end of your post – I don’t necessarily ask these questions when I see something abandoned or lost, but I often wonder about homeless people what had happened in their life that they lost their home and they now have to live in their car or tent. It also makes me very uncomfortable because I think in this country many of us are just a paycheck away from that, or a serious illness that eats up your savings etc. Sorry, this comment has turned rather sad…

  5. Beatrice P. Boyd | 3rd Dec 19

    I really enjoyed this post, Karen, and Yes I have wondered similar thoughts when we have come across anything that is “out of place” in its environment. I can’t recall exactly where we saw several old cars in a nature trail area in New England. (When my husband refreshes my memory, I’ll let you know). When we lived in VA, it wasn’t uncommon to find abandoned trucks and other vehicles. My personal favorites are dilapidated and long-abandoned homes and I will ask myself all sorts of questions about the people who formerly lived in them. Mostly, I wondered WHY they would walk away and let them deteriorate. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  6. Barb | 21st Dec 19

    Hi Karen, I’ve come back to read your post several times. I sometimes come upon abandoned structures or vehicles in the backcountry of the mountains. They’re often associated with old mines. They have a sense of timelessness. Their broken down and ramshackle appearance begin to blend with the natural landscape that they’ve inhabited for a long time. They draw me and my camera like a magnet. In this series of photos, I like the full view because it gives me context for your in-close shots. The metal grate on the back window would look like a fence to me if I didn’t see its place in the back window of the truck. So, I’m glad for both types of shots: one gives more context but the other magnifies texture and character. The truck is definitely wabi-sabi. I look at your photos and conjure its story.

  7. Carol | 15th Jan 20

    Stopping by from the Facebook Cuppa with Creatives. Enjoyed your blog!

  8. Beatrice P. Boyd | 26th Jan 20

    Hi Karen, I’ve been checking back on a regular basis hoping to find a new post. Hopefully, you are enjoying retirement completely and finding so many fun things to do, but you are missed and I’m looking forward to reading about some new adventure or project soon.

I am always happy to hear from you!