My husband and I were on our way home from a Thanksgiving weekend in Santa Fe, and were caught in a blizzard on Interstate 40 as we approached Cadillac Ranch, the installation of up-ended, half-buried Cadillacs on a prairie in the Texas Panhandle. We were going to stay in Amarillo overnight and get on the road again the next morning.
Mark and I are suckers for interesting photographs and felt compelled to stop to take shots of the cars in that snowy landscape. We were not dressed warm enough to be outdoors even for a few minutes in such freezing temperatures, but we were determined. We parked our Mini Cooper on the side of the highway, braved the ice-cold wind and trudged through snow to get the shots we wanted. We had to walk some distance to get them.
I had never felt that cold. I took this photograph with a 35 mm film camera; I can’t remember whether I had my gloves on, but if I did, I must have taken them off because I have a sense that my hands were freezing and it was hard to press the shutter release. At some point I was concerned about how cold I felt. But not enough to give up and go back to the car.
The resulting picture of the Cadillacs was well-worth bearing the bone-chilling weather. It was that shot I intended to show you. But as I searched through the photographs, I came across this one of Mark. I chose it instead because it was more evocative of that desolate landscape and wintry adventure.
This is an edited version of an essay I wrote for an event hosted by a writer’s group I joined in Dallas.