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culture daily prompt environment God happiness hiking history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles Mississippi natchez trace poetry spiritual story telling

The Rusty Bell

mount locust slave cemetery trail april 27

There is an old bell

that sits on a path

reminder of old times

remnant of history’s wrath

 

The tree surrounding it

telling volume of  stories of old

a time when the people

were cruel and cold

 

History must never repeat

this story of old

when people were enslaved

by greed and gold

 

The rust on the bell

is a symbol now

to remind us all

to greed and gold never bow

 

We must treat people

with love anew

kindness, dignity, and respect

all people are due

 

God made us all

beautiful in every way

granting us the privilege

of  living a new day

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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celebrations culture daily prompt history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles memorial day Mississippi

In memory of a Mississippi soldier on Memorial Day

american flag may 5

The small Mississippi farm has been the source of survival for the family for a long time. It has been 10 years since the father of the family committed suicide. As the oldest son it has long been his responsibility to take care of the family business. Things have now changed as his mother has remarried and now it is his time to explore the outside world.

The young man is excited as he rushes home to the small farm in Mississippi. He is almost out of breath as he reaches the house with the news. The army recruiter at the small country school has informed him that the college scholarship has arrived. There is now hope for a new life. His smile radiates as he tells the family.

The Mississippi university has been a wonderful time in the young man’s life. The army program has given him structure and confidence. The days are filled with classes and study. There are football games and parties on the weekends. The years pass quickly and soon it is time to move to the next phase of life.

Graduation is here and the air is filled with anticipation and excitement. The engineering degree being awarded today has given him a job with the highway department and entrance into the army reserve as an officer. There is great hope for the future.

There is a war going on across the world in a small country. The army has requested his presence in this foreign land. The young man is frightened as he boards the plane. Life will be hard again and survival is not certain. He is deeply moved by the suffering surrounding him. His view of life will never be the same.

The young man has a wife and children. They anxiously await his return and read the letters he sends with great joy. The war will end soon and he will return. That day will be glorious indeed. The years he spends in a foreign land are difficult but there is a home in Mississippi waiting for him.

The young man is now home and returns to his career in engineering at the highway department. The army reserves are now his secondary job. This is an exciting time in life as his family and career grows. There are birthday parties and family vacations that make his life complete.

The years pass and the young man is now middle-aged with a career, house, and family. The army is still part of his life because of the army reserve. He serves his country in a dual career as an engineer and an army reserve lieutenant. The income from each of these provides him a comfortable living.

The middle-aged man now has time for recreation. His favorite past times include fishing at the local reservoir and playing guitar at his home. This day the sun is out and he is strumming the guitar by the pool while cooking food on the outdoor grill. Life is wonderful and he reflects on his blessings.

grill guitar chair may 5

The world is at war again and the older man reads with great interest the newspaper. His rank as a major with a career as an engineer make him an important part of the war effort at home. He wonders if the world will ever be at peace again. The army reserve has sent him to war college to learn how other countries in the world operate. The older man views these and hopes that diplomacy instead of war will bring the world to peace.

The older man has been promoted to the rank of colonel and is now at the time of retirement from both the army reserve and engineering career. He is looking forward to more time to be spent with his family. Both places of employment give him fond farewells and congratulations for a job well done.

The older man’s family is now larger and spread out. There are now grandchildren to sit and listen to the stories of his life. He again pulls out his guitar and plays around the pool. The grill is sizzling with his signature barbecue sausage.  He smiles with gratitude at the life he has been given.

The man has reached old age and his health is failing. Time grows short as he reaches out to his family and others in a time of reflection. The old man tells of how peace is how the world should be. He reflects that war should be a last resort. There is no glory in seeing the suffering of others. In the end war only brings misery to mankind.

As an engineer the old man has built things throughout his career. Wonderful bridges that he has pointed out to his family every time they drive through the state. He reminds them that bridges connect people to one another.

The family mourns as their father has passed away.  Through the comfort of hospice care he has been granted a peaceful passing. They reflect upon the blessings of having known and lived with this man. His life lessons will remain with them for life.

strawberry patch park memorial april 24

The spirit of the man looks down upon his loved ones and smiles. God has granted him this one final glimpse before moving on to Heaven and eternity. He reflects upon the love given and then turns and walks into eternity.

**In loving memory of my father and uncle who heeded the military call and truly believed that peace between all nations would bring us together. They are gone but never forgotten.

Copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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alaska camping culture daily prompt environment hiking history inspiration intentional living life lifestyles preservation story telling travel

Alaska: A Tour of the Yukon

Alaska

Alaska is a wonderful place to explore and visit. The cruise ship had pulled into port and we prepared for our tour of the Yukon in Canada. The air was crisp and cold as we left the ship and got on the bus. The sun was bright as it beamed down on the snow surrounding us.

Our tour guide was a friendly fellow who lived in this small town. The small town had the appearance of an old west type of architecture. There were several buildings that were painted white with red trim that radiated in the sun as we passed by.

We passed through town and listened to the stories of how the people lived and survived the cold climate. Our guide was older and preferred to live in town during the tourist season and fly down to warmer climates during the harsh winter. He was proud of this town and his face shined with the telling of each story.

We passed over the Canadian border and there were beautiful snow-covered mountains and valleys to greet us as we made our way to the Yukon. The land was untouched by humans and the beauty of the land began to beckon me.

Our first stop was at a small park where people frequently camped and fished. It was an extremely primitive campground surrounded by trees with deep green leaves and a lake that had small animals surrounding it. The ecosystem was alive and drawing me into the stories of this land. The life cycle of nature was in harmony and it was beautiful

Along the way to the Yukon there are many animals in the mountains that are close enough to get a picture. Often the tour guide would suddenly stop and we would move forward in our seats with a jolt. There would be no napping on this tour. There were bears and wild goats that would pose for pictures in the distance.

The Yukon became famous in the 1800s for the promise of gold. People came from many places seeking their fortunes. The Canadian government would not allow people to enter the Yukon without a year’s supply of food and other life essentials. The ecosystem is harsh and the people allowed to enter were prepared. I loved this life lesson in planning and perseverance.

In the Yukon there is the world’s smallest desert. It is a beautiful piece of land that appears to blend in well with the ecosystem. The day of our tour it was covered in snow patches.

Alaska 2

It was time for lunch and we stopped at a small restaurant that was included in our tour. The food was wonderful and consisted of barbecue ribs, cooked potatoes, peas, and bread. Home cooking is wonderful in all parts of the world.

After lunch we walked across the street to view a beautiful mountain with a lake in the front. The lake had an interesting variety of colors that changed with the seasons. In the spring this lake is dark blue in the deeper parts changing to light green in the shallow parts of the lake. The mountains surrounding the lake have dark green trees below the higher mountain rocks. Truly God is an awesome artist to have created such beauty.

After taking photographs we left this wonderful place and proceeded to our next stop. It was a ghost town that featured a small gift shop and post office. The town was well-preserved with old abandoned buildings and railroad tracks. There was an old train car on the tracks outside the post office.

It was a wonderful experience for the soul to imagine how life had been in the times when this town thrived. The people lived off the land and brought their gold to be measured and converted to currency. An interesting time in the history of the Yukon.

We returned to the tour bus and began our trip back to the cruise ship. There were more stops along the way to take pictures and observe the wildlife. I enjoyed the peacefulness and harmony of the land. The wildlife has adapted to the seasons and thrive in the ecosystem.

Returning to the United States clouds and rain have descended on the landscape. A deep fog has developed and the roads are hazardous. Our guide is familiar with the road and we arrive back at our ship without any issues.

It has been a wonderful day to experience the beauty of the world God created. Alaska is a wonderful place to visit and full of adventure. My soul is nourished and at peace.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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bicycling culture daily prompt history inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi

Qualm: Riding the Steep Hills of a Mississippi Park

rocky spring cemetery april 28

It was a humid summer morning in the military park. All around were monuments to a war of another century. In Mississippi there are no mountains and only a few hills. In Vicksburg the military park has a lot of  hills with many twists and turns. I had decided to ride my bicycle in the park with a friend.

There is a huge difference in being twenty-five years old and forty-two years old. My friend was young and training for a marathon. Riding a bicycle on these hills was going to be easy for her. I had ridden these hills at a much younger age and now they looked daunting and frightening. I had many qualms about attempting this ride after so many years.

The road in the beginning of the park is flat and an easy ride. My friend told me she would see me at the end of the ride. The park is a circle so it would end close to this spot. So the adventure began.

Making my way around the first several twists and turns was fun and quite easy. Looking at the monuments as was scenic and fun. But soon the road began the twists and turns and the first big hill was at hand. Since it was early in the ride the hill was not as difficult as I had imagined. At the top looking down I could see a steep curve on the bottom of the hill.

I began my descent to the curve. It is amazing how fast a bicycle seems to go down a hill. It is a thrill with the wind blowing on my face. Slowing hitting my brakes the curve was made and again at the bottom of the hill. That was fun and exciting.

The next mile of the road had a few hills and again the scenery could be admired. All the monuments in the park have a story. On a cooler morning it is fun to recount the history and understand what the symbolism is in all the monuments. This morning it is a time to recoup my nerves and get ready for the next steep hill.

There is another bicycle rider in the park. He is training for a century ride in the Colorado mountains. There are several of these one hundred mile rides in this country. He speaks a greeting as he passes me and continues on the journey,

The next hill is on a circle that overlooks a valley in the park. This is an easier hill to maneuver with beautiful tall trees surrounding it. It is a beautiful morning and the sun shines through the trees. I love this part of  the ride.

Moving on to the next hill gives me great hesitation. It is steep and leads up to an old ship from the war. This ship was one of the first to be sunk by a mine in the water. Having been restored it is now a museum. It is a wonderful place to visit and relive some history.

The day is hot and I am struggling to get up this hill. Panting and going slow it seems like only a few inches are accomplished with each pedal. The century rider is beside me and shouts encouraging words as he easily passes and hits the top of the hill. Finally after what seems to be forever I reach to top of this hill.

Coasting down to the bottom of the hill with the wind blowing it is easier to breathe. There is a place to sit outside the museum and take a small break. The water in the bottle is still cold having not yet melted from being frozen overnight in the freezer. Such things are a small pleasure in life when taking a break.

The remainder of the park is filled with small hills and places to reflect upon the journey through life. Since it is early summer the park is filled with wild flowers and green trees. The scenery is stunning and quite beautiful.

I have ridden over ten miles in the beautiful park and am relieved to see the end of the trail. My friend has been finished with the trail for some time now. Packing up the bicycles she stated that the ride was easy and great for her rest day of training.

Looking back upon the trail  I reflect on my experience. There are no more qualms about this ride. It was difficult and fun. I am alive and excited to ride the park on the bicycle again on another day. Another wonderful adventure in life and nurturing for my soul.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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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
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