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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Country Living?

Louisiana Cypress - Nikon D2Xs - April 2010

We drove out to the country this past weekend. I miss it. It just smells cleaner, the air just moves easier & the pace perfectly matches my spirit. When I say country in Louisiana, especially south-east Louisiana, strange images probably come to mind. It is not the open corn fields of the mid-west, nor the rocky plains of Wyoming, just part of deep warm South. No, I don't mean gator infested swampland. I mean oak trees, gently rolling green fields & total mixture of diversity so rich it would make Jesse Jackson & Jesse James both equally proud.

Country in south-east Louisiana is mostly this --- the wealthy country with their hundreds of acres of manicured land & 15000sq foot plantations replicas versus the country poor, with their customary cinder-block supported 86 Firebird (faded glory) "hotrods", rusted weightlifting equipment on the porch & colorful plastic toys littering their untidy lawns. The country poor love Nascar, Budweiser, the Saints and to ride around on their 1/8 acre desolate dirt lots on their riding mowers cutting nothing, but holding their kids in absolute pride and accomplishment. The country rich love to savor the good life & pay someone else to maintain it all.

I am stuck in the middle.

In between, you have a handful of nice properties, well-kept with pride --- middle class people with good work ethics, but mostly you have trash. If you can imagine, we drove nearly 300 miles and never exceeded 30 miles from home. We traversed every old highway, backroad, and creek bed looking, exploring our backyard for something that captured us. We returned disappointed, but enlightened.

Strangely, some of the most pristine land containing the most picturesque landscapes were either drastically over-priced or more often marred with the presence of the most downtrodden, desolate & depressing shacks, trailers & their dirt-poor inhabitants.

The frustration and dichotomy of living in the country comes from the inability to control your environment. That is why subdivisions are so popular. You can control your environment & live next to your socioeconomic peers, all protected by those who just simply don't share your morals, interests nor class of living.

It is kind way to say --- hey, "This is where we are in our life. If you are better, go up the street to "Hillcrest Heights" --- if you are worse, keep on moving buddy. We don't need "your kind" here. That and no one wants to maintain 10 acres of land anymore. Tractors simply don't make time away from our Tivo's that enticing.

Again, I am stuck in the middle.

I guess I simply want my land again. I want my antique tractors to restore and my own parcel of Earth to maintain. I desire the rugged sinker cypress barns & the well-appointed country home. Even a nice lake, rolling green lawn, large oak trees lining a shapely driveway & cast-iron gates would be acceptable. (grin) --- I strangely feel very relaxed and at ease, at peace if you will, on old Plantation land. Country life --- It is in my blood, my genes & certainly my spirit.

I look forward to moving on --- away from this glorious Mandeville, LA subdivision to my next place, never to Hillcrest Heights, but to something more reflective of who I am. I am done living in the shallowness of impressing the proverbial Jones family & their 2.2 children. It all seems far too ordinary and rehearsed, almost predictably staged. I just want quiet serenity & some land, acres and acres of land to walk upon & call our own. A place for my children to fish, to run and my border collie to chase a herd of sheep.

Perhaps, we will locate our next homestead soon. Perhaps, I will die wanting to return to the place that sets my mind and spirit at ease. Perhaps, none of this matters, only the present, only today. Perhaps, I long for times that are gone for good reason --- only time & opportunity will ever prove me right or wrong.



CML said...

I've been enjoying your blog! It's nice to get to know the "real" you that I always knew was there but only saw glimpses of from time to time... :-)

Lindylou said...

Andy, you are an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing. Keep looking for the right place God wants you to live. I know God has a future plan for you to begin ASAP. Hold tight to your dreams and to your talents and to who your really are. I love you.

p.s. are you talking about me?