white silhouette

white silhouette

I was recently in a car accident. I found myself disoriented, taking photos on the side of the road at night in the middle of nowhere.

This project consists of photos from the scene, some poems and a narrative of the people I met during that surreal evening and the following days.

  1. introduction (narrative)
  2. poem for a white silhouette (poem)
  3. results of impact (images)
  4. beyond the white silhouette (poem) - not yet posted
  5. Centerville/incorporeal (narrative) - not yet posted
  6. removal and return (images) - not yet posted
  7. synthesis (analysis) - not yet posted

I was driving home from meeting with some friends to do a wildlife assessment at Big Thicket National Preserve, a bit north of Beaumont. No light on either side of the road, just pine trees towering and an eerie night sky in the country. A few hours earlier we had a group cookout to tie-off the evening but I was feeling anxious and needed some alone time so I decided to leave.

I got on the road toward home and felt a bit odd but told myself to power through at least until I got to I-45 and then if I needed I could stay at a hotel if I still wasn’t feeling the drive. I swerved around a box in the middle of the road going 80 MPH and chuckled at the close call, kind of eased my shoulders back and enjoyed the serenity of the open road, always extending an invitation.

Periodically I turned my brights on when there weren’t other cars coming to see what was going on. Somewhere between Crockett and Centerville on State Highway 7 I stopped involuntarily.

A flash in front of me, my headlights flooded the body of a deer and all I saw was white. Instinctively I slammed on the brakes but it was too late, we had collided the instant I saw him. The airbag hit me in the face as the hood of my car released, launched backward and simultaneously shattered my windshield and blocked my view. All I could think was, fuck…I’m going to end up in someone’s living room..

I couldn’t tell where I ended up because of the gas, dust, smoke and lack of light but I could tell I was partially on the road, unsure of which side. In my state of disorientation I tried to turn my car lights on unaware they were busted out. I poked my head out the window and started to open the door but I saw headlights coming at me and got scared and decided to just sit in the car a minute longer.

A few cars passed, zero change in velocity. I hoped someone would stop and help me understand what was going on but I wondered what I would do in their situation…Saturday night, 22:00, 75 MPH speed limit on peaceful country road, catching only a glimpse of a car angling off the edge of the road, hood mangled and draped over the front of a bashed-in windshield, engine on fire with a large deer lying perfectly still spanning the back windshield and roof.

> poem for a white silhouette