I know everyone thinks of Mississippi as nothing but country living in every inch of the state. And the truth is there are only about 10 (if that) towns that are really “big city” living with tall buildings, malls, offices, highways. I’m from the capital, Jackson, MS and there’s no sign of country living here. I was born in 1973 and my uncle lived in the small town of Flora, MS and that’s how I got to experience most of the country lifestyle. Every now and then, I would travel with relatives to other relatives homes in the country. But as for me, I lived in a subdivision in the north part of Jackson. Even my grandmothers lived in homes close to downtown Jackson (although I knew they grew up in small country towns) where all the city life was booming back then.
So, as I grew up, I never had an interest in camping outdoors, living in the country because as a city girl, I didn’t grow up around wildlife and I was afraid of even domestic animals such as dogs and cats (trust…I still am). LOL! Of course, I went camping with the Girl Scouts where we stayed in clean cabins and with nice community showers in the mid 80s but I was always ready to get back to the luxury of my bedroom (especially since I was an only child and my room as all to myself..LOL)!
When we first moved to North Jackson, there weren’t many subdivisions. My mom would put me, her sister, my cousin and my maternal grandmother in the car and we would drive pass my neighborhood. BOY DID I THINK WE WERE GOING SOMEWHERE FAR! lol. And my maternal grandmother, Mama Nancy, would say we lived in the county because passed our neighborhood was nothing but woods. We’d traveled to Ridgeland, MS which is on the outskirts of Jackson and before one of the major malls of the the state was built there it was a woody area. I think that’s where my love for traveling roads all began. It started with those little rides through the backwoods (who knew major development was on the way of malls and more subdivisions in the late 80s/early 90s).
I noticed throughout my life, I longed to get on a road and drive. And my driving would just consist of me getting down a highway by myself and going as far as the end of MS and turn around! HA! The roads brought me peace. But when I discovered the connection of The Ross Barnett Resevoir to the backroads of Mississippi, I could feel my inquisitive only child juices bubbling. What’s back here? I’d crank up the car and go. I had a keen since of direction so I knew I would always know how to get back to where I started which would lead to home. And on those drives, I discovered back behind these major cities was the peace of country living, I’d said I would never want to experience.
Something about getting older makes everything within you want to slow down and be set apart with just you and your family until you decide to be amongst others. My travels took me by farms, ranches with cows roaming, goats hopping, ducks landing in ponds, frogs croaking. And in the winter, I had a special spot I would go just to sit and roll my window down and sniff in the crisp air if it was a cool day in Mississippi. In the country, it’s quite quiet and peaceful so what you’d hear were birds having a conversation and the cracking of limbs falling from high distances hitting the ground below. I felt so at home.
What?!?! Am I saying I like it out here? Can I live the rest of my middle age and latter years in the country. WAIT!! Get a hold of yourself, Teshia. You’re a city girl! But it was this day a few years ago I took this photo, in this little creek on a fall day in Mississippi I said, I could get used to this.
I took this photo with my iphone camera. I didn’t build this little stone pillar I found in the creek but it showed me that someone else had been here enjoying this type of living also. I stood there and with nothing else around me all I could hear was the running water of this creek. Here I stood a woman afraid of all wildlife, including snakes, lizards, frogs…..sensing peace fill my soul. The trees shielding the sun in all the right places of the creek in the center of the woods but the leaves allowing just enough sun to hit the ground in all the right places. And, all my childhood giddiness overtook me as I removed my shoes and walked the creek with my bare feet. I was enjoying life where I was standing and I asked God, how can I live like this everyday. What is my purpose in life that can have me right here where I can be free to get to this happy place in my soul anytime I needed to? I didn’t wait for the answer from Him but I’ll revisit the question soon.
Yeah…I am a city girl but somewhere in a not so deep place anymore inside of me, I want to be in the country sitting on my porch watching deer passing by with baby deer following close behind Mama Deer. Walking through trails already worn out from previous travelers. Starting a fire in the night and witnessing the night as it approaches the earth. And, I want all of this to happen with no snakes, lizards, dogs, cats, foxes, bugs, umm, umm, let me think, wild boar (maybe they’re not here in MS)…but this is my dream! LOLOL!!! I think if God can make this happen, I can be a country girl here pretty soon! At any rate, I love my state and that it’s teaching me more and more how to be in love with her…yeah…even the country side of her.