Since most of the country is preparing for a harsh winter and enjoying a few months of rest from the summer heat, South Louisiana and Mississippi have a completely different atmosphere. The intense summer heat gives way to more moderate days, monsoon rains, and the traditional fishing season. Hunting is a key element in the culture and folklore of this region. Families and friends regularly meet on weekends at the church on Sunday. Trucks and cars are filled to the edge with guns, 4 wheels, and coolers filled with beer. Both wives and mothers allow the traditional Mass to be celebrated on Sunday to get a chance for deer meat at the dinner table and a different form of church. This time of year is held around the campfire. The bearded men become old gray, chewing tobacco with nicknames such as "Poppy" and "Bao Bao" preachers. The seats are replaced by logs and rocking chairs. Wine becomes a cold beer or two fingers of Tennessee whiskey and the Eucharist mystery is the gazelle sausage in Jumbalaya. As in the Church, the values of life, the building of family ties, and strong faith are learned. It is an unparalleled experience and a real blessing in my life.
Recently I was lucky enough to make the trip to the South to visit family and friends. Starting from my hometown in New Orleans, we drove north towards St. Louis. Francisville, Louisiana. As cities and busy highways approached two winding roads, barely big enough for one full-size vehicle, the beautiful oak trees rose with Spanish moss on rolling hills. Modern concrete and steel houses have turned into shacks of rustic tin with a wrap around the balconies. These houses, surrounded by 100-year-old trees and shabby rocking chairs hanging from the front balconies, seem to have been untouched since 1800. In this part of the world, these beautiful houses are called "The Camp".
Young people and old people flood this forest in search of those once in a lifetime buck. The whole trip to Camp, imagine myself as I draw my corner and aim at the legendary bet. This trip with friends was a bit different from last trips. Although I was there to shoot the first deer with a bow, there was an important work to do first. At this time of year, the camp was attending food plots. These football-sized fields are plotted with rumors, alfalfa, random field greens and everything else to keep deer healthy for years to come. Like most days in Mississippi, there was no shortage of rain. As the rain fell, the surgeon was plowing the field and the warmth from the muddy dirt that struck the cold rain created a light mist hovering over the field. The fog engulfed the food plot in the surrounding oak and magnolia trees. I briefly felt as if I was heading back in time. I imagined Confederate soldiers and the Union cut through the fog with guns and fire guns. As I wondered about the history of these timber, I suddenly stopped again with the roar of passing jars and the whistle of my colleague pointing to the loading of another sack of seeds. The spray was wet, covered with mud, with flat tires later, and the day was drawing to a close. As we were heading towards the camp, my friend said, I know I love photography, "Do you want to see something wonderful?" After he knew the answer to his own question, he sharpened the code from the gentle dirt path we were in, directly to the thick thick brush. All through the thorn fork we photographed photographed flying off a ridge in a deep creek bed. To my surprise, thick bushes looked like a part of the Red Sea and a huge oak tree on the square.
This 300-year-old oak tree rose from the forest floor as if it were a giant watching us. At the base, a small tomb was placed barely visible from 1800. The tombstones are mixed with azalea bushes and western yagur, as if they were natural in place. Large limbs stretched 100 feet in the air creating an umbrella like a spider web that was a natural kicker of steady rain. Small columns of rain and light droplets managed to navigate through the canopy, gently tapping the forest floor with each drop. Every rain falls, dominos, takes another 10 drops along, dancing across the limbs to the floor of the forest below. Each drop indicates a different refraction of light, making the tree vibrant in a quiet light display. The gentle crackling of the drops that hit the forest floor seemed like the tree was making its own musical rhythm. This tree was as inspiring as I imagined it stood in the test of time. The winds of the force of the hurricane and the rain of the bombing were not, and even modern man was able to pull this giant down. Just like today's man, we put deep deep roots built on a strong foundation of ethics and values. Over time, we become strong as we face adversity in us. Once we have established our place in the forest, we will create more life and provide shelter for those younger than us.
With the long daylight that fades, the cold, the fatigue and the rain in the rain, I and my friend laughed about how lucky we were to experience such days. When most people feel sorry for themselves or are miserable, we are happy with simple things in life that most people have not experienced. We quickly headed to the campfire warmth and the smell of jambalaya on the fireplace. Lying next to the fire, in a coma of belly filled with jambalaya, feet wrapped in a wool blanket, my buddies and I showed each other love the only way known by true friends how. We would laugh for hours, we would joke, and we would cherish any small mistake each other made, and recall the days of glory almost. Although I came out empty of bow hunting, the experience I enjoyed with my friends was close to the family.