Somewhere on a back road in Mississippi, time worn wood and mottled brick give this building a patina of age.No longer speaking of use and purpose, it stands in dignified silence . Simply forgotten. Neglect sneaks up so quietly that it’s easily overlooked. Relationships may be taken for granted, friends and children are put off, gardens and homes, time for personal growth- all these fall prey to the demands of careers or needs of others.Vibrant dreams and plans grow threadbare and emptied if neglect grows unchecked.Taking a moment to really see things in their current state is the first step to protecting and reaffirming what’s important to us. There’s more to say, but I need to go call my mom…
Tag Archives: Mississippi
There’s something about a pink house , maybe it reminds me of birthday cake decorations or happy spirits, but I noticed that I shoot a good number of pink buildings. The ones I’m sharing here come from Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Maybe it’s a southern thing, but the color is lighthearted . Even in their states of disrepair, there’s beauty.
After reading about the breakwater in a guide book, and that by walking across at low tide would bring me to two lighthouses. All week I talked to people that gave me advice. Go after low tide begins, go while it’s high tide and wait.On that hot ( for Provincetown) afternoon, low tide began just after 1:00. Walking through Provincetown to a part I hadn’t explored kept my camera delighted.Finally reaching the breakwater, it occurred to me that my mental picture of skipping along rocks and gravel was far from the truth. That’s what I get for living near the Mississippi for so long.The breakwater stretches about 1 1/2 miles. The length , not a problem.It was the rocks themselves. Large spaces between threatened to bite my ankles. The water recently retreated left many slick . Uneven boulders reminded me of my trek through Cornwall. But there I wore my hiking boots, not Tevas, and I hadn’t been alone. I told myself I had come too far not to do this and what kind of message did I believe if I didn’t make the attempt.I started out and began smoothly. The further I ventured, people passed me as if I stood still. They rock hopped like mountain goats and I , the beached whale , foundered.( Just for the record, I am not whale-sized).I continued and joked with everyone along my way .I was doing fine, albeit slowly,until one man told me about water still across the path and how there was a jump. Next, a young mom with her little boy told me about swarms of black flies as you reached the other beach. They weren’t helping. Then I reached a step from one to another that slanted uphill to another. The landing space was small and the drop off deep. I stood there summoning my courage when a young man offered me his hand to guide me across. I continued. For about 3/4 of the way.All I could think of was that if I broke an ankle, my vacation was ruined. My daughter wouldn’t know where to find me. The rest of the summer would suck.That inner critic stood in full-fledged screaming mode and still I stumbled forward.Little kids with their parents met this challenge without fear. I certainly could do this! It was hot, my sunglasses fogged up and I decided an impromptu picnic would help. I sat on the edge, ate my sweet Portugese fried pastry and drank cool water. Sun on my face, I pondered, and sweated some more. In the south they say things like glistened. I still call it sweat. The view of the lighthouse at the end of the spit kept my camera busy. About then, I realized that my purpose in coming was to shoot the lighthouse and enjoy the scenery. The only person I need to prove something to was me. If I could see my experience as a success, then it was. Proving to myself that I could hike in a dangerous spot (for me) wasn’t really the issue, it lay in determining whose expectations I needed to satisfy.The people coming back hadn’t visited the lighthouse, it didn’t interest them.I could take good shots, go to the beach in the later part of the day and enjoy the rest of the summer without feeling like a failure. I started back with a smile on my face. Rock-hopping became a bit easier. At the junction , the young man waited to offer his hand. He said ” I waited here in case you needed me, it looked like you were o.k., but just in case.” The fact that he had given any thought to me at all warmed my heart. I retraced my steps more easily until I reached the end. Sometimes, regret isn’t appropriate. Next time, I’d bring reinforcements. The next day , there was mention of a young girl who had broken her leg on the breakwater. Maybe her inner critic didn’t yell as loudly as mine did. Sometimes mine ‘s a real shrew. Other times, she’s right.
Roaming the back roads in southern Mississippi, out the driver’s side window I spied a tall chimney and jigsawed glass windows.The challenge was to find the house and take a closer look.After a quick left and several wrong turns, we finally found the driveway.
Posed in front of us stood a neglected brick dowager melting in the sun. As I wandered around the outside peering in windows, untouched marble fireplaces and intact chandeliers surprised me.
The front door stood open and invited us into the shade. Stepping inside I caught my breath. A pair of beautiful pier mirrors flanked the door.The home still wore tired eighties decor.Peeling wallpaper and flaking paint sprinkled the floor and tempted my camera.
Climbing the front stair, nervously I tiptoed – unsure what might be waiting.A hammering sound stopped me. I hadn’t seen a truck or van so I wasn’t expecting workmen. Calling out, there was no response. Two rooms down the hall, I found a shade slapping the window frame in the breeze.Laughing at myself, I explored a bit more and headed down the back stair.
Hard to imagine abandoning a home such as this, a variety of stories played in my mind.Taxes, inheritance problems, relocation, none of those seemed romantic enough for the home’s history.
Amazed and grateful that there was no sign of graffiti or partying to mar her fading beauty.I hope that she will be restored and home to a family who loves her.
After viewing photos of the remains of Rodney, Mississippi on line , I had to go see for myself. Directions on several blogs made it sound so easy to find and just a couple of hours from Memphis. Of course,my friend and I decided a road trip was in order. After stopping at numerous gas stations, hanging out windows to accost passersby and driving down gravel roads,and a nick in the windshield later, we found it.It is near Alcorn State University.Of course we’re not sure we could ever locate it again. It may be like the town in Finian’s Rainbow that only appears every twenty years.
The town of Rodney formed back in 1814 when Mississippi was a territory. A river town, it just missed becoming the capital of the territory when the mighty Mississippi moved. In the 1850’s it was home to more than 1,000 residents, the chief port of two steamboats,several newspapers, two banks , and an opera house. By 1860, Rodney was home for 4,000 residents.Then the river changed course.It went from 300 yards away to three miles.I had no idea a river could just up and change position in a short time.
The sun was blazing and the streets deserted when we arrived. Collapsed buildings and those in slightly better shape lined the street. Our first stop , the brick Presbyterian church which dates to the early 1830’s, looked almost untouched. The cannonball imbedded in the facade above a window gave evidence of its age , but its stories were in the cemetery that lay at the top of the hill behind it. Damaged by time and vandals, the old metal fencing looked like rusted lace. The stones of prominent families sagged along with those whose names have faded.
Back down on the main street , the remains of the opera house and perhaps a town hall are mounds of debris. There is a general store , Alston Grocery, another building on the opposite corner which might have been a stable, and another church.There is a clapboard Baptist church.
As we wandered and shooting photos, we met a man who used to come to Rodney with his dad back in the forties. He tried to remember and explain what it had been like at that time. Further on, there was a couple who had family members buried at the cemetery.Families from surrounding areas had buried their loved ones in Rodney because it was higher ground, literally. It seemed to be a day for reminiscences so we listened and felt more connected .
The photos presented are infrared with an intentional blur. . They seem to fit the mood of the day , a dreamy otherworld feeling.You could almost hear the footsteps, carriage wheels , and voices as a thriving community busied itself in daily life.
There are a few residents and hunting camps nearby, so ghost town isn’t fitting in terms of population yet it perfectly captures the mood.