The Photography of D L Ennis, and more!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Strangers Don't Exist

We talked easily like we had known each other for a long time. Debbie (on the left) needs arthroscopic surgery on her knee. Some flummox at WalMart backed carelessly and crushed her knee against a shopping cart. Dorothy (Debbie's mom) recalled Chapel history and let me thumb thru aged church records handwritten in formal script. I felt honored and privileged.

We chortled about the sacred rituals of the Masonic Lodge upstairs. They enjoyed my story about hiding under the front window, as a young boy, to eavesdrop on my father passing secret rituals, according to oral traditions from the past, to a neophyte Mason nervous to learn. Debbie spoke with pride about her father, once disdainful of church hypocrites, now born again to pastor Stuart's Chapel. The sincerity and depth of their faith was palpable. It's a good place to be.

Country churches are rarely left unlocked any more. Vandals and liability insurance, you know. It's really too bad; church interiors photograph well with natural light streaming thru the sanctified spaces. However, this was my lucky Saturday. The front doors were open wide. Debbie and Dorothy were busily cleaning and arranging for a 'singing' that night and apparently ready to take a break under the whirling ceiling fans. They pretended not to notice me, and I pretended not to point the camera at them, as I wrestled with a heavy tripod and fancy gear to shoot this interior and blur those fan blades before the light faded They giggled, and elbowed each other, after I confessed my deception.

Some places are especially hard to leave. With hindsight I should have stayed for the 'singing', deciding later where to stay for the night. The urge to press on unfortunately won out that afternoon at Stuart's Chapel where strangers don't exist.

Cr 613, Russell County, Va.

Saturday 4 June 2005


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