Mississippi Falling

Ok..so really. You never know what type of weather experience you’re going to get in Mississippi (other southern states can totally relate). And seriously, you can look for the foliage to change and you may see some, but Fall in Mississippi, you can usually expect lots of green still dominating the trees and the bushes along with 90 degree temps, humidity 85% (gee whiz).

Every year I PLEAD WITH GOD to give Mississippi a “real” Fall (as if he doesn’t know what He’s doing in Mississippi when He keeps it hot). And on September 22nd each year, I look to see what the upcoming weather forecast is going to be. Will summer and Fall battle it out in the air? Or will summer collapse into Fall without a fight? (that never happens)

Saturday was the first day of Fall. September 22, 2018. I was so excited. Was it hot…of course. But the upcoming DAILY rains and DAILY temperature drop made me even more excited. It inspired me to get up out of bed, grab my camera and see what’s happening around Mississippi. My camera and I wanted to know were we the only ones in anticipation for Fall or were the trees responding with as much excitement as we?

Just look at this picture! Look at it! HELLO FALL! Look how the sun captured the beautiful color of yellow with an outline of fading orange on the leaves. I saw a quote today that said, “Mother Nature has the best box of crayons.” So, true! It’s only been a few years now that I’ve noticed I don’t have to travel north to see foliage change. In Mississippi. It happens. Right here. In my state! A colorful process happens before my eyes. So, where have I been all these years?

Of course, we’re all intelligent to know this has been happening all my 44 years (centuries before me) in Mississippi. But I think within the past 10 years, I’ve just now paid attention to what my state had to offer traveling down these roads less traveled by. It gave me an opportunity to slow down and really look what was happening.

No…the seasons may not change according to the calendar here in the Sip but that doesn’t mean it won’t. All things happen in its own time. And, you know…I think I’m now paying attention and appreciating timing other things and others without frustration and stress.

I can’t make Mississippi be what it’s not. It’s not fast-paced. It’s not medium-paced. We move how we want to move and that doesn’t make us the lesser state. Why do we always try to make Mississippi be like everyone us. Mississippi is falling the way it wants to fall….right in to place in its own time and it’s beautiful.

The season is changing and guess what….Mississippi is Falling!

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Not even pictures are perfect.

When I got my camera, I was obsessed with making sure my pictures were perfect. I wanted people who saw them to know the picture was from THE REAL DEAL…A CANON EOS REBEL T6 (y’all I didn’t know the name of this camera off the top of my head….I just looked it up🤣) and not my iPhone. Sooo, when I’d go driving down my favorite Mississippi roads, I would search for the perfect spot. And in the “perfect spot”, it took me about 1 minute (long in photography time) to take one shot because I was looking for the right angle. The right time when the leaves 🍁 would fall. The right shot of the wind (WAIT…WHAT? 🤔 YOU CAN’T SEE WIND! GIRL STOP!) I wanted the vision in my head to be the vision through the lens and show up PERFECT! But the camera only catches what’s there.

I was so bombed because my photos were not giving me what I wanted or what I thought I wanted. All of this nature back here on the bi-scenic route not far from the Mississippi River and I couldn’t capture not one perfect photo. Isn’t it funny how we know that nothing in life is perfect yet we demand perfection even from inanimate objects like a piece of furniture or rock or a road…things full imperfections?

But, I received the best advice about picture taking from a friend. “You’re thinking too hard. Don’t think….just snap.” See, when someone gets in front of my cell phone camera, I would’ve snapped about 10 pictures before the person even knows it. And it’s usually in those shots the favorite comes out. Well, duh! I didn’t transfer that knowledge into me taking pictures with the 🗣CANON EOS REBEL T6. I mean cmon. It’s THE REAL DEAL. Why didn’t it know to do it on its own?! 😜

Well upon receiving this advice, my obsession with having the perfect photo slowly but surely began to fade away. And, as I traveled along the roads and if I saw an oak tree with limbs full of green, I didn’t try to search for my interpretation of whatever I felt was the perfect point-of-view of Mississippi. The lens was truly already telling a story all on its own and not concerned about its imperfections. So, I’d get out the car and just CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK as I move from one spot to the next (I’m real photographer now!). And allow myself to be free from myself and just enjoy myself. Yeah…I had joy.

As I reviewed my photos later, I noticed something about them. Where I was aiming a shot somewhere else proud I’ve got the perfect angle…in the distance or off to the side would be an abandoned home or car or rickety fence. My perfect photo with imperfect objects making an appearance. We hear the phrase that something or someone is “picture perfect.” But not even pictures are perfect. Just like our lives aren’t. There’s always something in the background or off to the side or right in our faces to show life isn’t what we want to portray for others to see.

When I took the shot of this bird flying (yes I was aiming at the bird not the clouds), I was once again trying to show I could capture a perfect shot of a bird soaring through the wind. Uh…maybe I didn’t see the dark cloud (although I was literally out of the car looking up in the sky) but the camera lens did. It caught all the imperfections in my shot and you can barely see the bird at all. I started to get upset but I remembered that my purpose is not to be perfect but to just keep clicking (yeah…I’m finna get deep…somewhat).

That’s what I’ve really think I’ve learned to do in life…just keep clicking. “My children are upset with me.” Just keep clicking. “I messed up at work.” Just keep clicking. “Am I ever going to find a job?” Just keep clicking. What does “just keep clicking” mean? Don’t just take one shot at something. Keep trying and stop trying to be perfect. We’re never going to reach perfection in life. But if we just keep clicking, one of those shots will turned out to be the best one in life and then we will experience real joy.

🗣I’m Moving North.🤷🏾‍♀️

Growing up in my preteen years reading magazines and watching movies, it seemed like all the fun and fabulous stuff happened in New York. All the snow was in New York. All the best rappers were from New York.🤣 Then I fell in love with a guy from a magazine and read an article about him (his name was Ray) and he was from Maryland. And I can’t forget this brochure that sat in our den about the finest hotel and its best cuisine prepared by an award-winning chef in Vermont. WHY WAS I BORN HERE IN MISSISSIPPI?! “I’m moving north when I graduate high school and I’m going to marry Ray,” I told my mom and my close girl friends.

Well, I really did fall in love with a guy but not from the magazine but right here in Mississippi. So, I forgot about the magazine guy. Who was he again…cuz I’m in love this this fella from Mississippi. So, we dated. We married. We had children. We divorced. I was heartbroken. Here. In Mississippi.🤦🏾‍♀️ Then, I remembered 🤔💭 I’m not supposed to be here. I’m moving north!! But, while I was grieving the loss of this relationship and raising children on my own, I realized I didn’t recognize or remember who I was. And in that time period, I was led to the best app ever….PINTEREST. I created boards of my likes, my dreams, my wants, my desires. I was creating boards where I was rediscovering myself from my purest, untouched by life years and remembered my obsession with roads.

I began to heal from divorce by taking long drives down roads in Mississippi. These roads are where I discovered the backroads of my state and my eyes 👀 saw something as a black girl from Mississippi I was never told (because the vision of Mississippi I was given was of hurt and pain and being last in the nation). But, Mississippi is beautiful! 🤩 So, I bought a camera 📷 thinking this would be my cheap way to save on senior portraits for my son. I’ll just take them. But, it turned out to be so much more. And I thought the best way to learn this camera is to take it with me and discover the history on those backroads.

The abandoned towns, churches, sheds. The rows and rows of fields of corn, soybeans, trees. The Mississippi Blues Trail markers. The wide Mississippi River. The burned down homes with nothing but stone pillars left to honor its existence. Churches still standing in perfect condition but no attendants. Graves unmarked. Headstones dated in the 1800s in small cemeteries behind churches. Fields of cotton. Abandoned juke joints. Abandoned post offices. Antebellum homes. Bridges. The open fields beneath Native American burial mounds (the real owners of this land). It was all so new to me but brought me much peace and pure joy. Mississippi backroads became my happy place, my place of comfort.

Some times I sat long hours reading a book in my special spots on my Mississippi backroads. As I’d rolled my window down and listen to the quiet of the open fields and woods, I began to imagine what’s happened here (some of it I know because this is the South and slavery was very real). Who was loved here? Who was hurt, killed here? Who moved here from another state to start a new life? Who dreamed here? Who played here? Who’s heart was broken here? Who sang here? Who danced here? Who walked these roads to freedom here?

Mississippi. It wasn’t so bad. As a matter of fact, through every click of my camera and each frame I reviewed, I began falling in love with Mississippi. I thought, how could I not love the place where God saw fit to birth me into this world. I’m a Mississippi girl. Born. Raised. Lived. Married. Mothered. Divorced. Laughed. Cried. Shared. LOVED all right here in Mississippi. Nah…I’m not moving North. It’s too much more of Mississippi my eyes and my camera has to discover. You know what? I’m staying right here…in Mississippi.