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daily prompt food inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi picnic

Lifestyle: A Spring Picnic at Mississippi Petrified Forest

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lifestyle/”>Lifestyle</a&gt;

The warming of the days bring on the urge to connect with nature. Mississippi is filled with exciting and beautiful places to engage the outdoors. On a recent visit to the Mississippi Petrified Forest we discovered a picnic area on the park property. Jess and I packed a picnic basket and journeyed to a park table surrounded by trees and a field. This was a calm and quiet area during the week with only a few people walking the grounds.

We decided to decorate the table and enjoy the simple pleasures of the nature around us. The trees were full of green leaves that moved to the light breeze blowing through them. There were birds chirping and small insects buzzing around the table. We were amazed at the serenity and tranquility of the spot.

With a full picnic basket containing a table-cloth, napkins, plates, candle, and goblets the table began to take on a festive theme. The food is usually simple and easy to pack. Our meal consisted of shrimp sandwiches, fruit, carrots, and baked beans. Shrimp sandwiches have become one of our favorite picnic foods. Grilled to perfection with a mix of jalapeno peppers and garlic the shrimp travels well as the ingredients continue to marry each other as time passes.  Jess and I love this time to connect with nature and reflect upon all of our blessings.

After the meal was finished it was time to take a gentle stroll around the field and trees. We walked and took photographs of the presentations of nature’s beauty.

IMG_4191

I reflected upon how some of the landscape reminded me of my grandmother’s land. As a child visiting my grandmother was an adventure. The land upon which she lived had many types of flowers, trees, and a large yard. This picnic area had pine trees and a large area of grass that blew gently in the wind. This walk and photography session were a pleasant relaxing memory.

Jess and I packed our picnic basket and camera as the day came to a close. It was getting to be late afternoon and we were relaxed and ready to head home. The day was wonderful and some day soon it will be time for another picnic.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

Categories
inspiration life Mississippi nature panic tornado Uncategorized

Panicked : A Personal Tale of the Damage Done By a Mississippi Tornado

pine tree in bloom april 1<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/panicked/”>Panicked</a&gt;

Mississippi has a large number of thunderstorms and tornadoes each year. These storms are part of the adventure of living in this state. Most storms pass through the state with only downing trees and power lines. Occasionally there is a storm that will destroy houses and communities. Sometimes people will die from being struck by debris. This is my experience of the damage caused by one tornado.

It was late afternoon on a day in March when the thunderstorm began to move across the sky. The thunder and lightning were deafening as we prepared the patient’s rooms for the tornado warning. There were sounds of the warning sirens going off around us. Everything went smoothly and no one was injured at the hospital.

We were listening to the news when a coworker came to me and said that there had been major damage in my neighborhood from the storm. I began to panic as the thoughts of where were my loved ones. This was a difficult time in life for me as the pain of divorce was still lingering.

The panic continued on the way home. Phone calls had been made before leaving work assuring me that my loved ones were safe. No one knew the condition of my home. As I pulled into the driveway there were trees down in the yard and one tree had been speared into my home. The rain was still coming down into the opening of the roof as I opened the door. Standing at the door for a moment it looked like a pretty waterfall coming over the tree now in the living room.

When the shock of what was happening wore off I thanked God that the damage was only in the material things and then the panic set in. Where was I going live? How would my house be repaired? Is there ever a safe time in life?

The response from friends and neighbors was immediate. There were offers of a place to stay while the house was being repaired. Food was brought and assurances made that I was not alone. People in Mississippi are wonderful and quick to offer a helping hand when needed. There were kind strangers that brought chain saws and began to help me clean up the damage. I will be forever grateful to all of these people.

Recovery from a tornado is a long slow process. In addition to the material damage done there is a sense of loss in terms of security. The illusion that we live in a relatively safe environment is gone. Panic struck as I attempted to put my life back together again.

It took three months before the contractors could begin to repair the house. There was a waiting list due to the number of homes damaged or destroyed by the tornado. Each day I would come to the house and clean up a few more things. Finances were tough at the time and I worked as much overtime as possible. The home insurance would repair my home but not provide for the other needs in life. Food, shelter, and transportation are required elements of life regardless of the damage done during a storm.

The contractors finally were able to begin repairs on the house and it took three months for the work to be completed. Finally after six months I was able to move back into my home. It was a relief to begin setting material items back up in the house. The panic from the storm began to subside and things seemed to be getting back to a new normal.

The tornado damage was a wake up call for me. During this time I began to reevaluate what was important in life. Blessings of friends, family, and the kindness of strangers caused me to realize how important our communities are to all of us. We need each other to survive in this life. Kindness and cooperation are essential to all people to succeed in this world.

Nine years have passed since the tornado and I am a changed person. Material things are no longer important to me. Volunteering has become a part of my life. Contributing to world instead of taking from it gives me great pleasure. I no longer take life for granted and have a healthy respect for nature.

There was a round of spring thunderstorms that came through my community last week. Sirens sounded again to warn of a tornado in the area. As I sat in the closet with my husband and dog there was a brief moment of panic. Then I remembered that God protects me and that all is well within my soul.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

via Daily Prompt: Panicked

Categories
daily prompt happiness inspiration life lifestyles

Happiness: How to Wander But Not Be Lost

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/none/”>None</a&gt;

Most people aspire to be happy. There are stories, poems, and music that take on the topic of how to be happy. Many people wander throughout a lifetime searching for how to accomplish this goal. There are two types of wandering in this existence. One type is about sadness and the other about happiness. Nothingness is foreign to the group who are wandering without being lost.

People can wander and be lost. They are caught up in the struggles of life. None of the things given to them will make them happy. The daily grind of work wears them down. Their families are scattered and in disarray. Wandering is a curse instead of a blessing. Life is sad and disappointing. The path to happiness is forever elusive.

The more exciting and fun type of wandering is to be happy but not lost. Happiness is found through different paths of exploration. The word none is used far and between in this form of wandering. There are many avenues to this form of wandering.

The first avenue to wandering without being lost is through travel. Many people take extended trips to explore the world. It may be a trip into the past by exploring ancient artifacts from past civilizations. These may include the pyramids in Egypt or the ruins of the coliseum in Rome. Each has an exciting element of learning how ancient people lived. Happiness is achieved by experiencing the thrill of touching or seeing ancient items.

The second avenue to wandering without being lost is through minimal living. The concept of having few possessions is appealing to some people. There is happiness in using material things in more than one way. The minimalist finds happiness in limiting the amount of things owned and consuming less in the physical world. Inner peace is more important than possessions.

The third avenue to wandering without being lost is through loving relationships with other people. Love is a feeling rather than a material item. Love may be expressed in many ways such as the touch of the hand, a compliment, or simply sitting with someone in a time of crisis. This form of wandering without being lost is fun and exciting.

Some people wander without being lost in a family setting. Each person brings joy and committment to a unit of people. There is shared love and respect. During times of crisis a family is drawn closer with a common interest. The addition of people to the family is welcomed and encouraged. Each addition adds strength and stability to the family. Happiness is increased with this type of wandering when family members grow and succeed in life.

The fourth avenue to wandering without being lost is spirituality. The concept of something higher than oneself. To serve God is a wonderful and exciting experience. Wandering into someone’s life with no expectations except to serve is a wonderful feeling. Spirituality is also expressed in worship. There may be singing, meditation, chanting, or a combination of these things. Each experience is unique and exciting.

chapel in strawberry patch park april 24

The fifth avenue to wandering without being lost is through the search for inner peace. This is a special experience for people and there in no specific way to achieve this form of happiness. The wandering soul may explore many different paths to achieve the goal.

Some may try to obtain inner peace through humanitarian projects that will improve the lives of others. They may travel to countries where the people live in extreme poverty providing relief in the form of education or medical intervention. This form of wandering provides happiness and inner peace by helping the person focus on an external factor.

The sixth avenue to wandering without being lost is to focus on the land. There are people who grow flowers and plants in search of happiness. Each plant will represent a story in their lives. The cycle of life is wonderful and fills them with joy.

Other people will hike a path in the forest or canoe on the water.They find a deeper meaning in the beauty that nature provides. Nature is always changing and there is a new discovery around the corner waiting to be found. There is the renewal of life in each season that brings them happiness.

petrified forest water path 1 april 14

There is no clear path in wandering without being lost. It is a unique experience for each one of us. There is always a new adventure to be engaged in. Life is a wonderful experience filled with joy.  Do you wander without being lost? I hope that your wanderings are fun and filled with joy.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: None

Categories
food inspiration life Mississippi summer heat

How to Control Mississippi Heat: An Adventure in Keeping Cool

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/control/”>Control</a&gt;

Mississippi is beginning to get hot. The temperatures are rising the farther it gets into spring. Soon summer will arrive and it will be one hundred degrees in the shade. This is an exploration of the ways Mississippians beat the heat.

Mississippi has an abundance of water venues that are open to the public. The rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs are filled most days of the spring and summer with people trying to keep cool. There are many options for entertainment while trying to keep cool on the water.

Kayaking is a fun way to beat the heat. The early humid mornings lure people into the water with their kayaks. People will begin their adventure at an inlet and paddle into the scenic routes along the river. They will be greeted by ducks, geese, and other waterfowl searching for breakfast.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

As the trip progresses there is an occasional alligator that will swim under the kayak. This cooling adventure may last an hour or most of the day. There are many small sand dunes which serve as a place for a picnic lunch or a place to take a cool dip in the river.

Swimming is another option to cool off on the hot spring and summer days. There are swimming pools which are filled with children. The cool water is splashed around and there is much laughter and joy.

Many people choose to control the Mississippi heat by exercising in the outdoors in the early morning. The humidity is lower in the mornings before the temperature rises. There are paved paths along the roads for walking and bicycling.

Spring and summer weekends are filled with 5 k walk and run races. These races are used as a venue to raise money for various causes. Walkers and runners are fond of these races due to the dual purpose they serve. Often the participants are a part of a team. These teams provide a source of encouragement for the participants and a reason to exercise. The team provides a sense of pride in the money that is raised for the cause.

Bicycling has become popular in the spring and summer months. The gentle breeze that blows on the biker as he rides is refreshing. The Natchez Trace provides a beautiful venue for a morning ride. The road is smooth and even with little traffic. There is a century ride each year on the Natchez Trace. This race is fun to watch and encourage the riders as they complete the hundred mile course.

The Mississippi heat can be controlled by the use of fans. This is a popular option among the senior citizens of our state. Most housing options in Mississippi have a porch or a patio to enjoy. Ceiling fans are a popular choice for these places. Older adults spend many hours enjoying conversations sitting on the porch. Neighbors will come visit and enjoy a relaxing cold glass of lemonade or sweet ice tea. A wonderful way to control the Mississippi heat.

Another option to control the Mississippi heat are decadent desserts. Ice cream is a popular option. During family gatherings ice cream is made in a churn type maker. A fun way to make ice cream is use a churn that must be turned by hand. This is often a task for the children. It is exciting for them to watch and participate in the process of making ice cream.

Popsicles are made in the freezer and distributed to the children on hot afternoons. These are creative treats that may be made with juice or kool aid. Many people have gone a step further and added fresh fruit to the mix. A fun cool treat to beat the heat.

During the summer holidays jello molds are popular. Often decorated with various colors this dessert represents the creativity of those who are assigned to make it. Jello molds often are the centerpiece of the holiday table.

Air conditioning is the final control of the Mississippi heat. During the afternoon the heat can become stifling in the spring and summer months. It is a relief to walk into a cool indoor place after having fun in the sun. The shopping malls are popular during this time of the year.

The methods to control the Mississippi  heat are varied and many are used in the same day. The spring and summer are wonderful months to enjoy all that Mississippi has to offer. Living in Mississippi is an adventure worth living.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Control

Categories
history life mississippi travel natchez trace personal preservation

Rocky Springs : An Adventure into the Past

Rocky Springs is an adventure into Mississippi history. Located on the Natchez Trace the ghost town has now been transformed into a campground and a trail detailing it’s past life. The remnants of this town are haunting and intriguing. Jess and I pack a picnic lunch and take to the Natchez Trace for an afternoon adventure.

Visitors entering into Rocky Springs are greeted by beautiful trees in the forest landscape. The paved road is filled with the options of turning into the campground or driving and parking at the entrance to the trail around the remnants of Rocky Springs. We decide to park at the trail and tour the site before our picnic.  At the entrance to the trail there is a board enclosed in glass that has a map of the trail.

The trail begins with the birth of the town and ends at the remaining sites of Rocky Springs. The sites contain an old church and a cemetery. A haunting reminder of the history of this town. The trail is beautiful and surrounded by a forest. The sun shines through the trees on this day and there is a pleasant breeze. Jess and I read the signs of the birth of Rocky Springs.

The ecosystem surrounding this area had a spring that served as a source of life for the plant and wildlife. In the late 1700’s this was a perfect spot to form the town of Rocky Springs.  The Natchez Trace was still well-traveled and there was farmland close by to provide food and cotton for traders. Rocky Springs thrived for many years as a community.

It is not hard to picture the life of the people at this town. The town was growing at a steady pace. There were merchants, teachers, and doctors to aid the people in their daily lives. This was a prosperous time when the people would be laughing and enjoying life. The ecosystem is alive with birds, animals, and other wildlife. It was a wonderful time to live in Rocky Springs.

As the years passed there were changes in the ecosystem. Hard times began to fall on the people of Rocky Springs and the surrounding farms. The landscape became diseased and crops began to fail. These changes may have been preventable if the people had known how to manage the land . Insects and erosion became the invading army and the land was devastated. The people began to move away as the food supply dwindled and the hard times continued. It would take years for the ecosystem to recover. But as time passed and preservation initiatives took hold the land regained its fertility.

rocky springs tree april 28

Other changes were occurring in the life of the town. The country was experiencing the Civil War and it would not be long before the war reached the town. Many people on both sides of the battles were killed or wounded. The blood shed would aid the poor management of the land to destroy the town.It was a horrible time in history for all involved.

This war would cause much hardship to all people in the country. Rocky Springs was one of many towns in the country to suffer. Many tears would be shed over the loss of loved ones and economic stability. Years would pass before the people of both sides could move forward. There is much pain and suffering in a war.

A third invader of the land would mark the end of the town. Yellow fever is a disease that took many lives. There was no modern medicine to aid the people and the cause of the disease was poorly understood. The outbreak would be contained and the survivors were relieved. The disease would be contained for several years and then returned to inflict pain and suffering once more. The death toll continued to rise. The remaining people would move on in search of a better life.

rocky spring cemetery april 28

Eventually Rocky Springs became a ghost town with a beautiful church and a haunting cemetery left to tell the story. The church is still alive and services are held in the building. The cemetery behind the church has many old graves of people who once lived in this thriving town. It is a solemn reminder of how fragile life is and how we are only in this world for a brief time.

rocky springs church 2 april 28

Jess and I make our way to the campground to find a picnic table. The afternoon sun is warm and the gentle breeze is still flowing through the trees. We enjoy our food and then pack the truck to return home. The Natchez Trace continues to be a pleasant drive with beautiful scenery. We reflect upon our blessings and ponder on what our next adventure will be.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

Categories
inspiration life Mississippi personal

A Sunday Morning Spring Rain

Its raining on this early Sunday morning. I awoke to the rhythm of the rain beating on the rain barrel outside my bedroom window. The sound of the rain is like a slow meditation. It reminds me of the nourishment that water gives to all living things.

Mississippi has a wet spring most years. Spring gardens are planted in mid March and the rain showers help the young plants grow quickly. The parsley and basil in my garden have already been harvested twice this spring. The wonderful fragrance and flavor have been added to my food many times. It is a time of pure enjoyment to the taste buds.

The rain showers have an effect on the soul as well. They act as a calming reflection on the drama of the day. Each slow dripping of the rain is a reminder to take a deep breath and relax.

Later in the day the slow rain will turn into a thunderstorm. There will be lightning, hard rain, and perhaps some hail. These storms remind me of the drama of life. It is like watching life play out on a live stage.

The first scene of the storm will be the thunder. The loud boom will be accompanied by bright and colorful lightning. This echoes our lives in this realm of existence. There will be issues that are on the horizon. The thunder is the warning of the issue and the lightning becomes the intensity. When the lightning is flashing around then the issue may be small and resolution will be quick. The issue will surround us but there will not be pain. After it is resolved we will not remember that anything has affected us. The issue is insignificant.

When the lightning begins to strike then the issue becomes deeper and more difficult to resolve. This may be a time in our lives when the soul is shaken by disease or loss of someone we love. There may be great pain to overcome and solutions not so obvious. Each strike is a deep wound to the soul. We feel helpless and may have lost the hope that life will return to normal. There is great sadness during this time.

Next will come the hail. Hail is caused by the water being frozen in the atmosphere and then falling to the ground when becoming too heavy to remain in the sky. Such as in life there are issues that churn in our lives and become so heavy that they must come to the surface. The issues may be small and come to the surface pea size or become larger and appear as a baseball size. They begin to beat down and cause damage to the soul. This scene may last for a moment or extend through a great length of time in our lives.

The amount of damage to our lives is dependent upon the size of the issue. Smaller issues are resolved and the damage is limited to one part of our lives. Other larger issues can cause hard damage so that we may never fully recover from them in this life. Larger issues may also affect the people around us. Their interactions with us change. Some people may support us. There will be others who will leave and never return.

The thunderstorm has reached the point where the heavy rains begin to fall. The rain beats down and covers the hail. The issues of life are now weighing heavily on our souls. This is when the others around us attempt to hinder our efforts to recover from the hail. These people may be purposely trying to prevent resolution of the issue. Often this takes the form of gossip about the issue. People will enhance the story for effect or invent a story to propel themselves to the center of attention.

There will be other people truly trying to help with the issue. Sometimes in the process of helping these people will hinder the resolution of the issue due to a lack of understanding.

Suddenly the rain will begin to slow down. There will be a steady rhythm like the beating of a drum. The steps taken to resolve the life issue will begin to work. The drama will begin to cease and there is hope on the horizon. People around us will begin to feel comfortable again. The damage has begun to be repaired.

white flowers at ms art museum april 20

Finally the thunderstorm will pass. In the horizon there will be a rainbow to remind us that the soul is nourished and renewed. There will be beauty in life again. We have weathered the storm and are loved once more.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

Categories
fragrance gardens inspiration life Mississippi nature

Mississippi Perfume : A Spring Adventure

Perfume
Fragrances are the essence of spring for me. Every spring the perfumes of the flowers and trees remind me of the wonderful life that I have been given. The fragrances are a call to the outdoors. They are the essence of the past, present, and future. Everyday holds a new beginning in the cycle of life.

The spring adventure starts in mid March with the blooming of the daffodils. These beautiful bulbs begin the show with their brilliant yellow and white colors. The promise is fulfilled that there is new life and renewal in the ecosystem. In Mississippi bulbs are popular and can be seen in gardens and on the roadways. The presence of these spring blooms speaks to the beauty of this state.

As spring continues to emerge the trees begin to bud and the wonderful sweet perfume in the flowers attracts the bees. It is a wonderful site to watch the dance of the bees and the flowers. The bees will fly from each bloom and with the wind blowing there will be harmony in the creation of new life. Soon the pollen spread by these bees will produce new fruit on the trees. The young fruit is the renewal of the life cycle in these trees.

bee closeup on clover april 7

The sweet fragrance of the spring will also bring the birds to the landscape. The birds will seek nesting places to begin a family. The renewal of life in the trees is an inviting place for birds to begin a new life. The new life on the trees provide an abundance of food for the birds.

Pine trees are abundant in Mississippi in the forest and in the suburban landscape. These trees send a yellow coat of pollen into the landscape. The fragrance of these trees is sweet and are the cause of many allergy issues in people. The yellow pollen show will continue for many weeks as the new pine cones emerge to continue the life of the trees.

pine tree in bloom april 1

Magnolia trees have beautiful large white blooms that appear in the spring. These fragrant flowers are large and shine brightly in the morning sun. They coat the landscape in many parks and yards. This wonderful flower is the Mississippi state flower.

magnolia group blooms april 21

Flower gardens are popular in the spring landscape. The bright colors and fragrances of the flower gardens are pleasing to the senses. Many people find peace and relaxation while working on these gardens. The fragrant flowers are nourishment for the soul.

Rose gardens are popular in Mississippi. Many people plant roses of various colors in the gardens. The sweet fragrance of these flowers attract bees, humming birds, and a variety of butterflies. The gardens are fun to take care of and to reap the reward of freshly cut flowers. The fragrance fills the house with calming scents.

mom rose garden april 1

The Mississippi Museum of Art has beautiful garden areas that are visited often in the spring. There is a section that has flower gardens planted in memory of loved ones  by museum patrons. These gardens have beautiful yellow flowers, roses, foxgloves, and grasses. The perfume of these flowers is a loving memory of those who have passed and the renewal of life.

There is a community nature park that has sections of flowers in the spring. These flowers appear on bushes that bloom in the spring. The vibrant colors and fragrance of the flowers attract bees and humming birds. This is a fun and relaxing thing to observe.

The spring attracts people to the outdoors. The sweet fragrance in the air is a call to people to renew their relationship with nature. Spring is the time of year when outdoor activities begin anew.

As the days begin to warm the people begin to reappear in the landscape. There are baseball games and races with walkers and runners. The barbecue grills return as people experience the appealing fragrances of food being cooked outside. This is the time for families to reconnect after the long separation of the winter months.

June soon appears and the spring fragrances begin to fade. Summer is on the horizon and there will be new perfumes in the air. The spring flowers will fade and give rise to the summer landscape. The temperatures in Mississippi are hot in the summer and people will begin to spend more time inside to escape the heat.

The fruit on the trees is maturing now and the bees have gone to more inviting landscapes. It has been a wonderful spring in Mississippi and the sweet fragrances of the spring flowers is now a wonderful memory. The future looks bright and all is well with the world.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Perfume

Categories
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.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Blanket

Categories
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.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

Categories
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.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce