🗣SUPER TREEE! Transform into a…..

On the backroads of Mississippi, you find nature, untouched, unbothered. And I don’t know why but over the years, I became super fascinated with big trees like this you see in the photo. I love the way the branches and the leaves sprawl out creating an umbrella ☂ affect. Can you say shade on a sunny day in April as this one?!

Believe it or not, Mississippi had just experienced a longer winter than usual and on this day the sun was fighting for its position to warm the Mississippi atmosphere. I got off the bi-scenic route a little and passed by this tree and had to get a shot. But I noticed, it wasn’t giving me full, fluffy branches of leaves. And that’s where my fascination of trees I think come in….the intriguing process of trees seasonal transformation.

Year after year and season after season that I’ve traveled these roads, I’ve had the most satisfying opportunity to experience what nature looks like when seasons make their transition. And watching a great big tree 🌳 go through its process is most amazing. On this picture, the leaves were making a return to life on the branch. In a few short weeks, it would be full of green enjoying the summer sun. I love the beauty of a big tree standing proudly on its own with leaves blowing like a cape on a superhero protecting the ground from the evil burn villain…the sun! But I noticed something this year in August that was quite odd.

One of my favorite roads on he bi-scenic route of Mississippi is full of trees on either side of you. Their branches hang over the road creating a tunnel of shade and just enough light. And on this breezy, hot August morning as l drove down “my road,” it was as if a bride and groom were walking out of a church ceremony with celebratory rice showering them. That’s how the leaves greeted my truck and me. We were the bride and groom and crimson and orange leaves were coming off the trees in masses of love and celebration of our arrival outside. But 🗣HOLD UP! 🗣WAIT A MINUTE! This is beautiful and all…but isn’t this hot August in MS? Where these leaves going?

These big super trees aligning the road had given way and were releasing their leaves..to me…a wee bit early for Mississippi in the heart of the summer. As if I wasn’t already excited by being serenaded in such a way but all of a sudden I realized fall-like leaves 🍁 dropping from branches were indicating a possible early fall. 👏🏾👏🏾

Want to know the gossip of what’s happening in Mississippi weather? The trees got the tea 🍵 🐸. They can’t hold leaves. So in early September this year, all around my the bi-scenic route you see super trees like the one in the pic, “baring” its soul and core to the world because it’s stripped of its natural clothing. 🍂 And here we are less than 10 days from November in this transformation, and in some areas, you can see straight through the forest….rows and rows of trees that go miles and miles beyond the road…bare. I’m telling you this is not usual. In Mississippi, nature in the fall still looks like the summer all green and trees still full bloom.

It’s a beautiful journey to take with the super trees. If you don’t pay attention (which most of us don’t), you’ll miss this simplicity of nature. Nature is an indication of life. It’s a life other than your own that Mississippi presents so beautifully to enjoy. Taking time to slow down and partake in it is one of the joys of my life. Enjoy natural life wherever you are. Look up at the trees. If you pay attention, they’ll give you the exclusive on what’s happening next.

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🗣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.