Tuesday, March 9, 2010

windfarm - west TX morning fog - Lordsburg motel - stockyards

There is simply no doubt in my mind that if you start your day with the Beach Boys you just can't go wrong from there. "Sail On, Sailor", "Don't Worry , Baby" -- those guys are always admonishing someone to chipper up, get down, be happy, carry on, and in multipart harmony that just inflates your soul -- a good thing for those of us too lazy to get up and do yogic breathing in the morning.

We didn't see much of Shreveport, LA, and that's a shame since I bet the town is pretty cool, despite Larry Flynt's enterprises there. Counties in Louisiana are parishes and you feel like you're in a Dave Robicheaux story riding through them. I see on the Doppler this morning megarain is trailing behind us, and I guess we're due. We'll be wandering graveyards and Memphis in the rain, and that seems right.

Old Dylan on the box, "It's a hard rain's gonna fall" and I guess he saw this mess comin, in Louisiana of all places. Sorry not to head down to New Orleans. Another time. Note to West Monroe: Pick up your trash, people!!

A fresh rainfall here and spring has sprung in Louisiana. And look! -- JONQUILS! Hundreds of them, lining the highway with sprays of yellow. And white blossomed trees drifting through the woods along with what looks like miniature bamboo and palmettos among the deciduous trees and pines. The pint sized palmetto fronds carpet the forest floor lookin like a zombie uprising, waving their skeletal fronds at the living. These are wet woods, and where would the water have to go at an elevation of 74 feet above sea level? That's quite a drop from Texas' 2000 feet or so. Louisiana is pretty flat here. Farms stretch wide around us, some scattered with cattle. Kinda bleak, maybe it's the greying sky.

Should we stop at the Lion's Den adult Superstore? They don't have "adult superstores" per se in New England, or in the mid atlantic states either. Oh, yeah, the odd "adult" store (really now, "adult"? shouldn't that be "stuck in adolescence" or "I lack imagination" store?) but not "Super". The chaste, conservative new england Puritans would consider that too much of an admission of sex as a billboard- sized priority in anyone's life, and too great an intrusion on their privacy. No. "Adult Superstore" is the exclusive preserve of the south. So what's with that? It's like the south can't decide whether it's a den of iniquity or God's own little acre. And feels that conflict needs to play out on the very public stage of its highway billboards. The giant messages from God versus the Adult Superstores ads. The battle for your immortal soul raging large. Maybe the south needs a new constitutional convention to decide, once and for all, whether or not to secede from a union that protects freedom to believe or not, freedom to love whom you please. The notion of enslavement to one thing or another as a noble idea never seems to have let go here. Of course New England is just as sexually hungup; they're just less willing to discuss it publicly and seem to be more willing to leave you to your own conscience. Am I wrong to perceive that it was indentured servants (white?) who immigrated north and black slaves who were plopped in the south? Maybe that has something to do with it.

The thing I like about farming is the irrepressible human spirit that manifests in the attempt at orderly precision (row after exactly measured, hopeful row) and voluminous outcome in the face of that unpredictably chaotic factor, Mother Nature. It is a thing to be admired.

Jonatha Brooke sez:" To be true to be kind to never walk away." That's love. And that's hard to do. Love is a sacred thing.

The Mississippi River crossing at Vicksburg (they must have some cool Civil War places here, but we are on a mission and are sorry to miss those) is impressive. Riding over the bridge, you feel the pulse of the country's aorta, that mighty river flowing beneath you, dark and churning, thick as molasses, pulling everything to the gulf, draining the highlands. I love the Mississippi. And what a surprise the MS Visitor center is! Nice old building with glossy old brick floors, and the folks greeting you offering coffee and a map -- "You're from Maine!? Why you a long way from home!" Yes, ma'am, I am. But in a way i'm not. See this is also my home, MY daddy was born here. His story is part of my story.

The sign sez: Welcome to MIssissippi -- Home of America's music!! And indeed it is. Mississippi is beautiful! Rolling hills of farmland and woods just greening. Spots of jet black cattle wandering the the golden fields seem lifted and floating in the late afternoon light.

A bumper sticker on the local sheriff's car reads: Only trash litters. Well, right on there. Once when daddy had taken a notion to drive cross country and drop in unexpectedly on brother and me in AZ he expressed dismay that his son was "livin like po' white trash" with a woman (brother was a 20 year old college boy then). It was the first time I'd ever heard daddy use that expression, but he'd just come from a visit to the old homestead in Mississippi and was lugging his childhood vernacular with him I guess. Point is, Mississippians use the word "trash" with authority when they say someone is trash. It is a severe criticism. I like it.

The Quality Inn in Grenada, MS is a good deal for the dough, 54 bucks with my AARP discount. "Way to be old, Ma!" sez T; she likes the motel discounts we get. Clean enough and relatively quiet. There's a good mexican restaurant further down the road a mile, La Cabana. That makes 11 times we've eaten Mexican since the trip started and I couldn't be happier. Oddly enough, the best flan was in Virginia. Go figure.

On to grave trippin, and a search for gggggrandfather's grave. Maybe we'll visit Mr. Faulkner, IT's old pal, as well. Daddy used to say Mr. Faulkner was boring when IT would drag him along for a visit. I expect those boys could drink, and bore a young boy to death in the process.

"It would be very unreasonable to understand the sad legacy of the last forty years as something alien, which some distant relative bequeathed to us. On the contrary, we have to accept this legacy as a sin we committed against ourselves." Vaclev Havel said that. But it most certainly applies to America as well.
I heard a rushing sound and just looked out the window. It's raining cats and dogs out. Rats.