As the weekend approached we packed our D.I.Y Campervan setting our sights and bikes upon Louisiana. If you have never visited, you are missing out. Louisiana has an attitude and atmosphere somewhere between “no worries,” “southern hospitality”, gambling, and kissing an alligator while buying hard liquor and ammo from a gas station. We wont even discuss Mardi Gras, a party, I will not admit attending …wink….wink…
I grew up along the border of Louisiana and Texas, To me nothing says Louisiana like swamp, zydeco music, crawfish, fried frog legs, and a side of gator tail. Everyone loves photos of Louisiana swamp, but few “nature lovers” will ever experience it. A swamp is not clean or sterile, you don’t view it from overlooks, you have to get in it. Within the company of snakes, turtles, spiders and alligators you paddle through slime and muck. It’s impossible to be still and not see life, likely crawling into your lap
Winter in the deep South is more of a suggestion. We joke that there are two seasons, Summer, and less hot summer. As Lauren packed, Ruth, “our fur-kid/ dog”, was anxious until she saw her gear. The weather forecast predicted freezing temperatures, yet on the southern coast forecasting weather is less of a science and more of a dark art. I still believe they use a meteorologist’s magic eight ball while sacrificing chickens. For some reason we trusted the forecast and packed for cold weather.
The park placed us in a spot you could hardly fit a smart car into. With a red head’s temper I struggled not to slip into Hulk Smash mode. After loosing my cool we pulled into the spot like a glove. Wearing cold weather clothing in 100% swamp humidity I took my bike on the hardest trails I could find. A few times over the handle bars, a face plant in mud, and one good pine tree impact, I was back to reality and feeling like a real turd blossom.
As I read other blogs my favorite writers are honest about their shortcomings, they are encouragers whose authenticity inspires. Then there are those bloggers who want us to believe they always hike 25 miles a day, poop rainbows , and eat granola while doing yoga and solving world hunger. I assure you I do not poop rainbows, or eat granola while doing yoga, I eat flax seed ,…. joking… So here’s a little honesty and humility.I wasn’t mad because the weather was hot, or the site was too small, I was mad because I felt as though I had failed. Yet my failure was not one of planning, or preparation, it was one of obsession, and perfectionism.The next morning as the sun began to rise the fog settled in layers upon the swamp. By way of a few board walks next to our site I managed to capture some awesome shots. If not for the hot, the humidity, and our horrible spot, these photos wouldn’t have been possible.
Contrary to “Forest Gump”, life is not like a box of chocolates, it is more like a swamp. You can’t experience it from a safe sterile perspective, you have to get in it, you can’t control it, and it is often dirty but still beautiful. Life is like a swamp, and I need a few more Cajun lessons in no worries, and kissing alligators?
In honesty I put in a few random swamp pictures from Spring,.