Over the course of my adult life I have taken solo journeys throughout America, sometimes living with the homeless and sometimes following the trials of Native Americans and African American migration. I remain off the beaten path in search of our nation’s character and have always found people who offer a meal, shower and plenty of stories. On these journeys I frequently went to funerals in whatever rural town or city I roamed. As a stranger I was never invited but always welcomed. I left feeling deeply connected to both the people and the soil beneath them, frequently smelling the history that seaped up from the pavement after a hot summer rain shower. The land never lies.
Many of the funerals in the deep South were for children. Outside of Selma, Alabama I spent a day with a family and community who buried a 6 year old child who had been killed by violence. The tiny pine casket was rimmed with M&M bags, the boy’s favorite candy. These shoes are for him. – Jinx