I recently returned from another trip to the desert Southwest where I again tried to follow the fading footsteps of the mysterious Anasazi. I truly love that landscape which is so, SO different from here. And I always hate to leave it, not knowing if I will ever make it back again.
But I’m now back home in Louisiana, following the fading footsteps of the ancient moundbuilders. Yesterday I took a drive through Richland, Madison, Tensas and Franklin parishes.
I love this time of year. The cypress trees are rusting. The last of the cotton is being picked and hauled to the bustling gins. The shoulders of rural roads are covered in white batting which floats down from the large trucks and gathers along the edges. Dust storms hover behind tractors as fields are tilled and laid to rest for the winter. It’s as if the whole area is nesting, getting things in order, readying itself for winter.
While I drove, following the directions in the Driving Trail Guide, I was reminded of how much I love this flat delta land. I see the flaws. I know the problems. And I cringe every time it makes the national news because I’m pretty sure it won’t be for a good reason. But … but … it is so rich. And lush. And deep. And while things move slowly here, they do move. Progress creeps along, caught behind the cotton haulers and Aunt Bessie’s old Buick. Honking the horn does little good but … not to worry. There will be a straight stretch of road soon and we will start to make a bit of headway. Until we get stalled behind the next obstacle in our way.
People built mounds here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. And they only quit when the Europeans showed up and introduced new ways. A lot has happened since then. And nowhere is that progress more apparent than when standing next to ancient ground such as this.
The Shackleford Church Mounds