Saturday, May 03, 2008

Song of the South

I love Mississippi. I love the history and the land and the people and the music and the weather. It is a state of contradictions. It's the KKK and the old white woman at the Deep Delta Festival today leaning in to whisper in the Black man's ear as they both swayed to the Blues pounding from the stage. It's the flash-flood rains we had last night that broke limbs and flooded streets, but mostly washed everything clean and green for the sun today. It's the pine forests, and flat cotton fields for miles, and the sand and live oaks, and the rolling hills choked with kudzu. It's the land of every Camaro-driving-redneck stereotype ever conceived and it's #1 in the nation in charitable giving.
In the last 8 days I have driven to a quilt show in Koscuisko, a Marcia Ball concert in New Orleans and the blues festival in Rolling Fork today. The coreopsis, Queen Anne's lace, spiderwort, vinca, red clover and wild roses are everywhere. The magnolias hang heavy in the tops of the trees. Corn, cotton, beans, pecan trees, cows and horses as far as you can see from the highway. We took the "scenic route" up through Satartia but had to turn back because the road was flooded. An extra half hour down to Vicksburg to go back up Hwy 61 didn't even seem like a detour. At the place where Hwy 16 was flooded out, there was a group of men sitting on upturned 5 gal buckets fishing from the road.
The weather was perfect, the sunburn only minor, the music good and the fried catfish delicious. We have so many festivals this time of year it's hard to even decide which ones to go to. There was another one in Leland today too. And of course, JazzFest and Memphis in May. Blues festivals every weekend through the fall.
For all the insane politics, hurricanes, tornadoes, illiterates, bad roads and worse crime rate it's still home, and I still love it. My feet are planted in the rich black soil of the Delta and seawater runs through my veins.


Rissa said...

Wow, that was poetic! :-)

Karoda said...

We're considering a drive through the deep south this summer but I'm thinking about just making it one destination in light of rising gas prices...if you had one place to recommend for vacation in Mississippi where would it be? I'm African American, I love good food, art, folk art, history, blues/jazz, musuems, beautiful landscape, and safety! I'm all ears.