Air this dense should not, by definition, be called air. Rather a translucent mold through which the natives of Louisiana walk on a daily basis. At five in the morning the southern atmosphere cried out for me, and as the door opened I saw the tears falling from the sky. The tears shed were not sad ones they were absolutely excitable with every drop. They fell from gathering moistness and not from any rain cloud – assorted gluttony taken on by the translucent mold. In fact it might not be too unheard of to actually catch a glimpse of a drip turn into moisture, then to water particles, and further to drops. They were tears of joy simply falling down. I thought of a siesta. A party—a huge buffet style party where the food digests slowly and the beer of whatever nationality reacts just the same. But the partygoer is full. The partygoer is in a stupor. The partygoer plops down in perfect delight, and complete fulfillment followed, maybe, with satisfaction in himself—and rightly so, for just as the drops of rain which mingle on tree branches, houses, and polls, and cars he becomes part of the scenery.
But the atmosphere did cry out at five in the morning. It refused to let me sleep. It led me from the comfort of Virginia’s bed where warm and tender feelings gathered in a few hours sleep. Surroundings seem to call when thickness of character can be seen with little observation. Such was his particular area of the state. One might first notice the trees—not just the amount but also the closeness of them. They packed themselves close with a looseness only the vines and underbrush enjoy. And while the thick gray hangs and cozy proximity, the lungs grasp but the whole murky wonderland.
From the distance dim though it started, light grew from the back road. It grew with fuzzy bulk as it moved closer through the fog. A truck passed reassuring me, and others like me that civilization is still out there lurking, and slithering in and out of the countries landscape like a dirty scoundrel sleazing his way through bars searching for his next fling.
And metropolis is out there, only dispersed. As for the intimate branches, well they waved good morning. And all I could do was to exhale my cigarette and wait. There would be more approaching, not cars but scenery. Of course it would be. I had to go find it. Two hours later I walked. My eyes simple, yet wide with curiosity, scanned the ground with each step. The moist forest seemed to be hiding something from me. Ground so compacted could serve no other purpose than the hide. So I moved in closer. I squatted in pure wonderment but my eyes would never see, because they knew not what to look for. And perhaps they gazed in awe at the spectacle. Yes, the southern landscape held its grandeur with proud face. I scattered the pine needles only to expose another strata of the same. Below each level crept years of pine needles. I did not find a thing other than what was already available to the eye. Louisiana found me in its midst crouched in trivial amazement.
Imagine my embarrassment when the beauty crept upon my spine in chilling force. I lifted my head and place my focus out over a nearby river. The southern cry turned into song heard only through sight. The people of Louisiana had done it. They tied into their country with perfect fitting character. They did not try to rule it. Practicality. And the southern atmosphere welcomed it warmly. The green moss grew in a luscious frenzy decorating the tree, while from under the water emerged bulbs of root pushing at the sky for attention.