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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It was about this time of year...

When I came upon these faces of the hungry, forgotten, vanquished souls of freedom.

Perhaps some of you have seen UFOs or other unexplainable phenomenon. Part of what grabs you is the normal simplicity of the moment, injected with something remarkable that challenges your common sense. You try to study it, explain it way, but it just laughs back at you.

Several years ago I was photographing at a Texas Hill Country ranch where my brother was deer hunting. We had gone to the ranch headquarters to fetch something when I caught this extraordinary scene in the corner of my eye. There behind the house, twinkling on top of the stream, were dozens, hundreds of glowing orbs. Each "personage" was about the size of a quarter to a half dollar, but some were as large as baseballs!

The sun was right overhead. There was no action visible in the water. The glowing orbs seemed not to be generated by reflections or the sun as some were floating inside of shaded areas. It looked like one of those fairy movies where bubbly neonesque orbs float in the midst of a fairy convention.

As soon as you see something like this, you begin to imagine... what on earth, or some other celestial address, could this possibly be? I photographed it several times over a ten minute period, watching as it intensified like burning coals and then finally dissolved.

My brother Reynolds saw my fascination and shrugged it off. Probably just fish feeding or something.

I guess so. But for just a moment, I imagined it was the hundreds of restless souls of valiant but halpless freedom fighters, during Texas' first fight for independence, who were slaughtered on the Medina River by 4000 trained soldiers of the Spanish army some two hundred years ago.

And here they have congregated since in the farthest and most peaceful reaches of its tributaries. It was called the Battle of the Medina, a one-sided struggle in 1813 between perhaps 1500 "rebels" of the multi-cultural "Gutierres Expedition" and the iron fist of Spanish rule. Few people have ever heard of it. And I imagined, hypnotized by those beautiful, mystical, sparkling orbs, that they had gathered here, a subtle yet noble symphony of light, pleading for someone to tell their story.

Note: If you click on the photo, it will come up much larger. Down on the bottom you will see a button saying SHOW ORIGINAL... click on that and it will come up again, and if you click on that, it will be really big.

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