Saturday, January 18th
Yokna Patawpha Bottoms Farm
Today we woke up and helped put the house back in order, returning it from party mode to normal. Kristin made banana waffles; after we’d eaten them all, we went to a park by a lake to do some longboarding.
Neither Doug nor Tom skated, but they both gave it a good shot, cruising around the empty lake parking lot. Nathan had done some skating before, and seemed to enjoy riding our loose, carvy pumping-optimized setups.
For us, it was just awesome to be out and moving on our boards – we both missed the movement, the flow, the balance and the breathing and the zoom. Back home it was 17 degrees and snowy, and it wouldn’t be skateable there again for a few months … so it felt extra good to be out pumping our boards forward through the wild, warm winds of Mississippi.
I mentioned that we were at a lake – well, the lake wasn’t really there, to our hosts’ and our surprise. For whatever unknown reason, Sardis Lake (which was actually a manmade resevoir created by damming a river) had been totally drained. Where there had recently been a large lake, there was now a field of mud, with surreal rotted tree stumps sticking up, and duststorms whipping up along the outer rim, where the mud had dried out and crumbled into the air under the onslaught of the intense winds.
Even from the shore, I was enraptured. Everyone started out on the gravel path into the mudflats with me, but by the time we left the road and started across the naked mudflats, Nathan had had his shoes sucked off by the mud, and only Kristin and Widget had not turned back.
The wind was insane.
We leaned into it and slurped across the alien landscape in flat, sliding lopes, moving out toward the distant, jutting tree trunks stumps that beckoned us nearer.
We arrived into the tree stumps, with thick mud-caked paws and shoes.
The wind and the apocalyptic landscape blasted us.
After an indeterminable amount of time wandering around in thrall to the novel setting, we realized that we were supposed to be getting to Doug’s friend’s house at 2:00 – and we had no idea what time it was.
So we begrudgingly started back toward the shore, just in time to see Doug take his Forester down into the gravel road and out splashing into the mud as the conditions deteriorated further out – the car soon went out of view across the lake, as we navigated back from the drowned forest.
Now the wind was at our backs, and we found that by keeping our feet flat and our arms out the gusts would push us along, gliding us across the shallow mud.
It was time to head out to meet Doug’s friends Greg & Shaundi, to check out their newly-purchased tons-of-character-awesome-project house, so we backtracked out of the bizarre dead end world of the Sardis Lake mudflats.
When we arrived and got the tour, Greg and Shaundi explained how their awesome new old house had been moved to its present location in the late 1930s – before the creation of Sardis Lake buried the entire 100,000 acre region down the road in water.
So, it’s possible that we walked through the spot the house once stood, while we were traipsing around in the vast mudflats of the drained reservoir.
The house’s previous dweller had been a potter, and the front garden beds were filled with pottery shards – and full pieces with just minor flaws, if you played archeologist well.
Or maybe “geologist” would be better – shifting through the shards and selecting pieces to keep for decorative and commemorative purposes back on our farm.
For dinner we all went to Taylor Grocery, a restaurant in a nearby artsy town. The local-recommended dish was the fried whole catfish, so we both had it, without regrets.
The live music and the food were both perfect, and we headed back to the house for an evening of hanging out around the big kitchen table shooting the shit and laughing a lot – which is where I am finishing writing this post, right now.
I can’t believe we’re leaving on Monday – tomorrow will be our last day here. Neither of us want to leave really, and Doug would be happy if we stayed (as I’m sitting here writing at the kitchen table, he just again joked about how we might come down with car trouble that will keep us here for another week or two …) … Although everything here is amazing and perfect, although I think it would be awesome to sink in here, get to know people and the farm better – and although I have no idea if the next place will be nearly as good an experience, and although we’ll be sleeping in separate twin beds there (on our honeymoon! egads lol), etc etc – in spite of all that, I expect that we will get much from the new place, in one way or another.
Anyway, I’m stuffed full of fried catfish and I’m tired. Tomorrow is Sunday, the weather should be great, and it’ll be our last full day in Oxford.