*This is the third in a series of four chronicling a journey of living outside one’s comfort zone and trying to discover a new path. An artist in residency at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee and Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi confronted and educated while teaching acceptance.
Finally settling in. Routine is important. Now “know” which trails work best for my skill set. How can I avoid an incident? First start at Morgan Hill Overlook and Prairie Trail, Loaktoma Lake lilies, Bluff Lake Boardwalk, Cypress Cove Recreational Boardwalk, Goose Overlook, and Woodpecker Trail if the heat allows.
A dawn and dusk walk is part of my daily prayer. It’s the best time to see the changing of the guard and nature’s drama. My “job” is to offer respect to Mother Earth for its inspiration. Irritated, I proudly picked up litter at each location. Highlights of waste on beauty becomes unacceptable and as visitor, will leave this refuge nicer upon departure.
With a cleaner canvas, I can cautiously and curiously proceed. Subtle changes in weather, temperature, light, and sound become magnified when visiting familiar destinations. A Mississippi thunderstorm resulting from a hot and humid day, sweats the imagination. These variations electrify like BB King’s guitar named Lucille.
I’m sensitive to noise and associate colors to sounds. The Blues are warm navys, rusts, olive greens, and honey yellow drop highlights. Techno music throbs with silver blues, lavender spots, bright orange bursts, and beams of white. Talking color with my husband is speaking in tongues. Why isn’t there an app for this?
Broke the routine to visit the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Numerous attempts trying to connect with liaisons resulted in no response. Venturing from California, indifference wasn’t going to ruin a positive opportunity. Time to listen to my gut and go.
The Chahta Immi Cultural Center is wedged between a Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General. Sitting behind a tall desk, an elderly woman politely requested my admission fee. Then an enthusiastic young woman named Kassie Cox declared she was my tour guide. Her aunt is Phyliss J. Anderson, the first female Tribal Chief of the Choctaws.
Driving back to the Refuge, dusk was slowly approaching. Two dogs were barking and running aside my rental car while turning back into the Southern jungle. Today was the start of truly listening and recording these vibrations. This isn’t just noise, it’s a gift and art.