"Do you want to go location scouting with me tonight?"
I got the text while I was sitting at my desk last Friday afternoon. Matty was waiting for me to come home and we didn't have any plans for the evening, which was fine by me. He's filming a short video for a really exciting project he's releasing (eek I can't wait to share!) and he needed to drive down a few gravel roads to search for the perfect location.
I was game, though I'm often reminded that I'm not as thick-skinned as Matty's friends in New York. The ones that leave the apartment at 1 AM and climb bridges, walk through abandoned buildings, or skate down the middle of busy highways. Nope! I'm Britt, the wife who tries to put on a calm face while they're parked and taking photos in the middle of nowhere, AKA, prime real estate for the Texas chainsaw murderer's digs.
(Matty, when he flips back through the photos that night: "What's wrong with your face?" Nailed it.)
But there is something to be said for hopping in a car with no real direction or plan. We ended up chasing the sun and found ourselves on an old and empty walking bridge over the Colorado River. The river both gushed along and pooled in places, wrapping itself around tiny archipelagos and trees. The land was lush and green, though the eeriness was not lost by me when I noticed the bumper of a car situated under brush far below the bridge. There were two people wading through the waters in the distance, making their way to a small island. I don't know how they got there or where they came from, but they added to the mystery and magic of the night.
When we took our unofficial Friday Night Lights tour a few weeks ago, we left one of the most meaningful spots off the list. The Panther Fieldhouse (where it all goes down for Coach Taylor, Riggins, Smash, Saracen, and the whole crew) was on the other side of town that day, but I had a feeling we were very close now. I did a quick search and found that we were only 7 minutes away, so Matty pointed the car that direction.
I'd read somewhere that everything had been painted over by the school, so when we turned down a hidden road off the highway and curved around, I was shocked. Trees had grown through the bleachers near the field, gates were bent and pried open, paint was chipping off the buildings, and the words "Panther Fieldhouse" beamed back at me. It felt like visiting a ghost town - or a graveyard. There was a mysterious light still on the building but no sign that it had been used. We drove around and saw "Texas Forever" painted on a door and I became the equivalent of a Justin Bieber fan. At least in my heart.
Matty and I were in another universe, that night. We found pockets of Austin that felt unfamiliar and challenging. It opened up a new creativity within us, just by exploring. There is great delight in uncovering adventure when you least expect it. Chase the sun - you never know what you'll find.
If you aren't familiar with the show Friday Night Lights, it was a critical darling, filmed here in Austin. The town loves it and I love it. Soon enough, Matty will love it, too. Catch it on Netflix if you're curious (or need a re-watch), and prepare to feel all the emotions because, well...
All photos by my husband, Matty Chatburn. Except for the iPhone car silhouette shot by me.
(Pst - click that link to see some of the amazing photos he shot that night, including my "I'm not afraid of chainsaw murderers" face.)