So, my morning was going slowly. My lower back aggravated with every rollover throughout the night. Do you think it could be from spending eight hours on my boat the day before?
The phone rang as I was about to drag myself from my desk to the shower. It was a friend from down the bayou asking in excited tones if I would like to see some wildflowers on the levee across from his uncle’s house, and could my camera bring them in closer?
I love wildflowers, but it was the excitement in this rough-around-the-edges bayou man’s voice that made me most curious. He has a slight impediment with some words, and combined with a thick bayou accent, I could not make out what he was trying to tell me about these flowers. So, I took the bait.
“Yea, I’d like to see them and I have a zoom lens. I’ll be down right after I shower and dry my hair.”
He asked, “You mean you gotta do all dat just to take pictures of flowers?”
“Well, I need to wash my hair today and I can’t go out in this cold with a wet head,” I replied.
I know he understands this thinking because he recently told me the same thing about himself. He has rather long hair for a man.
About 45 minutes later, Termite and I pulled up to his dock in our boat and our friend jumped aboard to guide us to the flowers on the levee.
As we drew near, he pointed, his voice animated, “Look! There! You can see ’em already.”
And there they were . . . sunflowers . . . growing on a levee untended . . .
standing tall, their faces turned as though looking at the trash at their feet.
Beauty surrounded by refuse–all sorts of trash and junk pushed here by storm surge, stopping once it hit the levee wall. It comes from miles away, and is therefore never “claimed” by anyone. It’s slow to be picked up because the only way to reach it is by crossing the bayou–there is no road to or on the levee.
This one was particularly lovely. What can you identify in the trash pile?
“Where’s your uncle’s house?” I asked.
“Right there across the bayou. Dat’s what I’m telling you. Every year he would plant sunflowers by his house and they grew. But he didn’t plant any this summer, because he drowned in the “May season”, remember? And the hurricanes passed with the saltwater and all, and LOOK!!!! Sunflowers on the levee all the way across the road and across the bayou in front of his house. It’s really something special. Don’t you think? Dat’s why I called you to take a picture.”
Yes, Bayou Fabio, it is something special indeed.
And just as special are the different dichotomies illustrated by this story and the photos.
Do you see them?