When I first passed this old bus sticking out of the woods on the side of a winding road in the North Carolina mountains, I was a little lost and a little stressed about finding my way to my destination before nightfall. Yet it caught my eye and my imagination. Several times over the next couple of days I thought of it – the white, the rust, the DayGlo paint is slowiy giving way to the green advance of nature. With only a flash impression, I created a whole fantasy about the bus. Maybe because I recently saw “Hair” on Broadway, I dreamt that hippies had lived in it. They bought it used and cheap and joined a peace caravan. People smoked pot in it, made love, wore tie dye t-shirts and those cool blouses with the little round mirrors.
So I went back. Out of my way, but I had the time. It wasn’t until I got out of my car and approached to photograph it, that I could read what the spray paint on the side of the bus said.
A racial slur. A warning. You won’t see the side of the bus here; in the South, we have seen that scrawl of hatred too much. It was a reminder that “Let the Sun Shine In” was a plaintive song.