art · history · inspiration · life · Mississippi

The Blanket Comfort of Mississippi

Blankets are coverings that comfort us. As a native Mississippian I am blanketed by the traditions and culture of the state. Mississippi is often considered one of the poorest states. I believe that poor is relative and that there are many things that give Mississippi wealth. There are seven areas that are explored in this blog.

The first part of Mississippi wealth is her people. They are a diverse group coming from around the world. We have a blanket of family and friends. The small town culture of people loving and caring for each other is abundant here. Through tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires there will always be neighbors to blanket us. In all disasters in this state the call for aid is answered immediately.

The second part of Mississippi wealth is her land. The landscape is green and lush in the northern and central part of the state. There is forest that blanket the state with vast trees and wildlife. There are  fields filled with crops containing food to feed us. The cotton that is grown to provide clothing for us.

In the southern most part of the state is the Gulf Coast. The vast Gulf of Mexico provides food and a beach for vacationers to enjoy. The barrier islands provide protection from storms and host an old fort that offered military protection in an earlier time. There are sculptures from trees damaged in hurricanes and a beautiful lighthouse to guide our boats home. This is truly a blanket of art and culture for Mississippi.

The third part of Mississippi wealth is the entertainment industry. This state is known for the blues and a variety of other music genres. Musicians young and old receive inspiration from the rich history of Mississippi. There have been aspiring musicians that have national competitions.

Writers have found inspiration in the tales of the people and the landscape. Many famous authors have called Mississippi home and speak of our culture. Many small Mississippi towns have been the settings for a wealth of stories. It is exciting to visit the towns that the stories told are based.

The film industry has taken an interest in Mississippi. Several small towns have been used as a background or set for a movie. Along with the famous actors several Mississippians have served as extras or have had parts in these movies. Our beautiful landscape enhances the story the movie is attempting to tell.

The fourth part of Mississippi wealth is the festivals that are held in small towns and communities. The delta has blues festivals featuring artists that are well-known and those that just beginning their careers. In another small town there will be a festival featuring tomatoes or crawfish. The crops provide income to the community and are celebrated.

One of the most entertaining festivals takes place in Neshoba County. Every year in August people come to this festival that features music, food, and politics. . This is a wonderful festival that brings in diverse groups of people. There are cabins that have front porches where people gather to enjoy conversation and food. In an election year many politicians gather to give elaborate speeches to encourage people to vote for them or their cause.

The fifth part of Mississippi wealth is the vast reservoirs and rivers. These venues provide entertainment and serve the water needs of the people. They provide ecosystems for birds, animals, and other wildlife. Mississippi protects these environments.

On a typical Mississippi weekend there will be fishermen, boaters, and people skiing in the calm waters. The parks surrounding these water venues have picnic tables and campsites for families. There are trails for bicycles and people walking. We are blanketed with the wealth of the outdoors.

The sixth part of Mississippi wealth is her spirituality. We are blanketed with a deep belief in God. Our culture is deeply rooted in this belief and is expressed in the way we live.

The final part of Mississippi wealth is the history of the state. Strength and resilience is blanketed from our rich heritage. We learn from our past and go forward into the modern world. There have been dark times where our culture has needed a correction. The people of this great state have risen to each occasion and moved forward to a more inclusive state.

I am proud to call Mississippi my home. It is a wonderful place to live and grow. This state is a good place to start and raise a family. Mississippi is blanketed in love.

via Daily Prompt: Blanket

inspiration · life · Mississippi · nature · park · personal

The Community of Strawberry Patch Park

Strawberry Patch Park is located in Ridgeland, Mississippi at an intersection with a school on one side of the street and residential housing on the other street side. This local park has been in existence for over thirty years. I spent many days as a young woman walking the trail in this park.

It is a warm spring morning and I am visiting my mother. She lives in a neighborhood not far from the park. We decide to take a morning stroll and take pictures along the trail. The trail is a mile long and circles around the entire park.

I am amazed at how little Strawberry Patch Park has changed over the years. The areas surrounding the park have exploded with new subdivisions, roads, and additions to the school across the street. The park seems to be thriving with only new playground equipment added a few years ago.

The trail path begins with an arbor inviting people into the park. My mother and I begin walking and the park becomes alive with life. The new playground is in front of us and is filled with children. The swings and slides are filled with running and laughter as parents sit nearby having conversations and drinking coffee. All is well in the world of childhood.

After passing the restrooms I spot some ducks and geese near some picnic tables. As an amateur photographer with a love for nature this is a wonderful spot for adventure. Slowly approaching the sleeping birds with my camera to get a picture I manage to take a few photos before the birds sense my presence. They awake and sensing no danger from me pose for a few more photos. I whisper a word of thanks to the birds and move on.

ducks in strawberry patch park april 23

The next stop on the agenda this morning is a small memorial dedicated to the military in the area. Mississippi has a lot of military families and this memorial to the soldiers has been placed by a local garden club. It is surrounded by a metal fence, lovely green bushes, and a bench upon which to reflect life. The memorial is beautiful and fits in with the life of the park.

strawberry patch park memorial april 24

My mother and I keep walking and see a family of geese. The parents are taking the goslings to the pond surrounding part of the walking trail. They pause for a moment at a puddle of water to drink before proceeding. I take a few pictures before the adult geese decide that this is too close for comfort. I quickly move on as they make noise and attempt to show me how big they are. These geese are protective of the young goslings.

geese drinking water in strawberry park april 24

In the pond is a duck enjoying the sunshine. The duck allows me to get close enough to take a picture of him swimming. These birds are beautiful and swim with precision and elegance.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

We continue our journey enjoying the coolness of the morning. At the back edge of the pond is a small chapel. This chapel has stain glass windows with bushes, trees, and a metal fence surrounding it. The short brick pathway to the entrance is inviting. In front of the chapel is a large white bell. The peace and serenity of the chapel is welcoming to anyone who cares to enter the doors.

chapel in strawberry patch park april 24

There is a group of turtles on a tree stump beside the pond in front of the church. I tried to take pictures of the group but got too close and off they jumped into the water. It is a funny scene as the turtles scurried into the deeper part of the pond.

Mom and I continue our journey and greet people as they pass us on the path. We are slow walkers observing scenery along the path. This part of the trail contains large trees that have been here for many years. Pecan trees are along the trail and will yield a large number of pecans in a fruitful year. These nuts are fun to collect in the fall.

The ecosystem of this park remains intact and continues to grow. There are new gardens of daffodils that have been blooming. The yellow color of these daffodils are beautiful and act as an enhancement to the landscape.

Strawberry Patch Park is home to many squirrels. These creatures playfully run from tree to tree in search of food. There is an abundant supply of food for them in the ecosystem. We also observe a variety of small birds in the trees. There are blue jays, robins, and other small song birds in the park.

squirrel eating grass in park march

Mom and I are now at the end of the trail. Before leaving I spot a turtle sunning itself on a tree root above the pond. I decide to try for a photograph one last time. Ever so slowly walking toward the tree I finally get the picture. This photograph feels like the prize from a contest.

turtle sunning strawberry patch park april 24

We exit the park and head to the car. It has been a wonderful and relaxing morning. Exercise is great for the body but nature is nurturing for the soul. Mom and I ride away and look forward to the next day in Strawberry Patch Park.

art · food · gardens · life · lifestyles · Mississippi · museums

An evening at the Mississippi Museum of Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art is a wonderful place filled with many beautiful sculptures, paintings, and other works of art. During some months of the year there are special exhibits from artists all over the world. These exhibits range from contemporary works of art to paintings from the Renaissance. Each month the museum holds an outdoor event. This month the museum featured a band and a movie.

Jess and I packed our chairs with a snack and headed to the museum. The Mississippi Museum of Art has a large outdoor space filled with a grass lawn, patio area, and gardens. After picking a spot to watch the people and movie, I headed to the gardens with my camera.

The gardens are filled with paths separated by a large concrete entrance area. I headed to the garden section that has areas dedicated to the memory of loved ones of museum sponsors. This garden is filled with various colors of flowers and some grasses. It is a well-kept area and filled with visitors.

white flowers at ms art museum april 20

My favorite flowers in the memorial area are the foxgloves. The beauty of the colors in the flowers stands out among the green grass. I take several photos of the foxgloves on the path. These flowers stand in their full colorful glory.

foxgloves ms museum of art april 23

The next garden section is across the concrete area that is very well planned and groomed. There is a sculpture that welcomes visitors through this part of the garden. It has vibrant colors that shine in the afternoon sun. The path going through this garden has flowers and trees on each side. The various plants are a feast for the eyes and the fragrance from the flowers pleasant to the nose.

sculpture ms art museum april 23

I stop and take pictures of several flowers. There are some beautiful white flowers on a hedge along the back fence. These flowers are surrounded by trees and are across from a bed of tall green plants. There are other people with cameras taking pictures along the path. One is a young couple having engagement pictures taken by a photographer. The scene through the path is serene and tranquil.

It is time to return to our spot on the grass to snack and watch the people. There is an eclectic group of people in the crowd. Many of them have stopped at the food truck parked on the street. The smell of food from this truck is enticing and it is hard not to walk over to try some tasty treats.

The museum has a restaurant and a patio with tables for outdoor dining. This area is full with waiters bringing a variety of dishes to the tables. Most of the people in this section are dressed formally and have come directly from their jobs. All is calm and relaxing as the people dine listening to the band.

The museum has a small water feature with water spurting into the flat area like small geysers. There are several children playing in the water having an exciting time. It is fun to see their smiles. The museum encourages people to bring their families to this event.

water feature ms museum of art april 23

This month the band is playing contemporary music and the crowd is filled with young people. There are a variety of fashion styles in the crowd. Many of the people have dyed their hair to match the outfits they are wearing. Others have come wearing the costumes from the movie to be played. I admire the diversity in the crowd and how well they interact with each other.

There are many dogs in the audience as well.  They are content to walk and observe the crowds. The dogs sit with their owners during the movie and are extremely quiet.

After the sun has set it is time for the movie to begin. The movie is one of the most recent from the Star Wars series. Several members of the audience remark how the outdoor theater is a better place to watch the movie. This is a popular fairly new release that is free at this event. The audience is in love with the characters and visual effects of the film.  It is a good movie much like the old ones from the seventies and early eighties.

The movie has ended and it is time to return home. As Jess and I pack our things and move toward the truck I admire how a group of diverse people can enjoy dinner and a movie together. It has been a wonderful evening filled with conversions, food, a movie and flowers.

 

 

 

 

Earth Day · forest · inspiration · nature

Reflections for Earth Day

Immortality is an idea that most people contemplate in a lifetime. This idea is expressed in religion, culture, and nature. This is an exploration of immortality in nature.

The forest is an interesting ecosystem in the life it supports. There are birds and insects that have abundant lives on the food and water provided by nature. The trees and various plants thrive on the soil which provides nutrients. There is a continuance of the life cycle throughout this symbiotic relationship.

petrified forest water path 2 april 14

The trees have found an interesting way to immortality. Petrified wood is trees which have been transformed into stone through a process called permineralization. Using the ingredients essential for life the ecosystem is the way to immortality. Once transformed the tree is preserved for eternity.

In the mist of the living is the immortality of the preserved. Throughout the continuance of life these petrified trees witness the renewal of the forest. Every season brings rains, snow, scorching heat, and other changes in the earth that change the ecosystem. Yet the petrified trees remain the same.

The process of permineralization is a slow one which takes millions of years. During this time the journey of life continues and the forest changes. Through the years if the forest is allowed to progress naturally then the petrified tree will observe the changes from its original home. If the forest is destroyed by fire or other means, then the petrified tree is alone or moved from the ecosystem.

petrified wood april 14

What does this say about immortality in nature? Is life in stone renewal or is it just another journey into death? The answers to these questions lie in every person’s definition of life. I believe that life and death are a journey that must continue. Nature continues to change in life and every death contributes to renewal.

When the tree becomes stone it stagnates and does not participate in the renewal of life. Watching from a stone does not lead it to continue the journey that nature encourages. Therefore, true immortality cannot be achieved through permineralization. There is a loss of meaning and true death. There is no life for the tree beyond this stone state.

inspiration · natchez trace · nature · personal

Piper at Reservoir Overlook

The Natchez Trace is filled with interesting scenery. The parkway is filled with mounds, a swamp, trees, and a large diversity of wildlife.  Recently Jess and I visited the Reservoir Overlook on the Natchez Trace. The overlook is close to the suburbs and is visited frequently by people wanting to take part in nature. The Reservoir Overlook is composed of a big field with some shade trees with a nice view of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

fallen limb in reservoir outlook march 31

As we were walking to the edge of the water a blue heron landed and began standing in the water. Blue herons are beautiful and there are many of them in this part of Mississippi. The birds have an abundant food supply with the fish in the reservoir and few predators. The grandiose presence of this bird makes one admire how wonderful life is. The head of the blue heron reminds me of an aristocrat wearing his dress hat. He is dignified admiring his territory.

blue heron at reservoir overlook natchez trace

 

The blue water is inviting and peaceful to look at and experience. I think about how that majestic heron has the freedom and ability to fly without worry. For the most part the life of the blue heron is calm and peaceful. Since there are few predators he has the ability to choose where to spends his time. The reservoir is a large body of water fed by the Pearl River creating many small islands and inlets. As the blue heron flies away when we approach, I am grateful for the blessing of being able to photograph and observe all the beautiful blessings of life.

blue heron cropped

As we walk in the field there is a large tree that stands alone. It is a beautiful tree that guards a portion of the field. The shade from the tree provides a perfect area for a picnic and to lie under on a blanket to contemplate the meaning of life. Jess and I wonder how long the tree has been here and how much of life changes it has seen. This area is protected but the areas in close proximity to it have seen many changes as the suburbs grow. big tree reservoir overlook natchez trace

As we end our day at the Reservoir Overlook there are more people arriving to enjoy the late afternoon and the sunset. This is a wonderful place to visit and experience peace and serenity. Jess and I hope that you enjoyed this overview and can come to visit Reservoir Overlook on the Natchez Trace.

 

inspiration · mississippi travel · nature · personal

Piper at Mississippi Petrified Forest

The Mississippi Petrified Forest is a wonderful and mysterious place. The old and new worlds collide and form a beautiful union. There is a serenity and tranquility that envelope the forest as you explore the living ecosystem and the remnants from the past. There are the sounds of birds and insects singing along the live trees and petrified wood.

Petrified wood is abundant in the forest and is quite colorful. The orange and greens blend in the wood and are in patterns that look like an artist’s painting. The petrified wood also appears to have faces, shapes, and  personality. Each piece of petrified wood silently tells its story.

Jess and I enjoyed a wonderful day at this enchanting forest having a picnic and exploring the surrounding path through the forest. We hope that you will visit this mystic forest and experience all of its wonder.

 

 

Easter · home · inspiration · personal

Piper’s Easter Reflections

Easter in Mississippi is a wonderful time. Like many places in the south it is filled with crosses, Easter eggs, and spring flowers in the garden. Sunrise services dominate Easter morning as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Renewal and redemption fill our hearts as we sing hymns old and new. All of the people are excited to announce that “He is risen! ” After the sun rises above the horizon we return to our homes for a day of Easter egg hunts, food, and family. The lunch at our home will often consist of ham, potatoes, green beans, casseroles, and delectable desserts. Our families will visit as the children search for hidden treasures and the adults try to remember where the prize egg is hidden. Many old Easter eggs will be found in gardens long after the holiday has ended. As this Easter approaches we hope that you will join us in this celebration of hope, faith, and family.