Carousel of Fear

Carousel at Pier 39, San Francisco, CA

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2010.

Photo:  Carousel at Pier 39, San Francisco, CA.

I normally like carousels…don’t get me wrong.  They tend to evoke happy emotions and visceral memories of innocent childhood fun.  There is just something about the deeply resonant tones of the piped in organ music and the gentle circular motion that makes it all so soothing.  Maybe it is tied to my love of horses and the fact that I never did receive that pony I asked for each Christmas.  Whatever the reason, as an adult I am always drawn to carousels like metal to a magnet.  To watch the intricately painted animals circle by in their hypnotic up and down rhythm.  To hear the echoing tones of the Calliope music fill the air from afar.  To be transported if but for a moment into the past when the promises of life seemed boundless.

For the most part these colorful contraptions appeal to that wide-eyed child deep within.  But they also tend to stir up something far more sinister should I linger; the dark shadows of the past that rode along with that innocence.  The intense moments of fear that consumed every fiber of my being.  When I was pulled towards this particular carousel in Pier 39, I approached it with childlike anticipation.  Yet there was something about the look on the faces of the horses that made me take pause.  Ears pinned back, mouths open wide and legs positioned in an all out run.  A carousel stampede in the making.  A frozen yet tangible moment of fear carved forever on their faces.  What was going through this artist’s head when he carved these figures?  Most likely some of the same things that passed through my own when I decided to snap this photograph.

About tracyth76

I am a professional photographer, obsessed iPhoneographer, freelance writer and website designer located in Northern, California. View all posts by tracyth76

3 responses to “Carousel of Fear

  • Donald K. Sanders

    Wonderful, love every photo.

  • Kathleen's life waves

    Thanks Tracy. Wow
    Spending my Summers in Asbury Park NJ. Arcades, Boardwalks, Rides, Beach were major parts of my life in the 1960’s.
    I often refer to rides and as you can see my blog title is beach related. It is a title I used in high school when I started writing life stories actually keeping journals. I am in no way a writer. But wanted to start a blog hence: ‘life waves’. I decided to start with the beach years before LIFE showed its true colors to me. I will be posting a new blog before Labor Day to end my 1960’s in Asbury.
    In viewing your carousel photo I can feel the movement and can see the current of fury in the horse, his face, his body. I do not remember that as a child but do remember some of the animals on the carousel in a distorted sort of way.
    There were many things in the Palace Arcade that frightened me as a child none that compared to the fear you were exposed to. My biggest fear still today are clowns. Just now typing the word freaks me out.
    I thank you so much for posting this link. It has made me think more of my carousel.
    I will send you a photo of the Carousel in Asbury Park when I unearth my Asbury Boxes.

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