This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Swamp Thoughts

This posting should be taken in context with the earlier posting for today: “Atchafalaya Is”. That piece is the result of some soul searching on my part, occasioned by being at a meeting where a public relations firm from Virginia (I believe) was proposing its definition of the Atchafalaya Basin. I listened to a well written and expertly presented proposal to adopt their definition. I think their wording was adopted, but I came away from the meeting with a vague feeling of unease. This was four years ago. That day I came back to my office and couldn’t get the wrongness out of my mind. There is a sense of significance that we have for some things, a sense that can’t be expressed in sterile wordcraft or polished speech. I come from a system that teaches us to not simply express rejection of something without having something to propose in exchange. So, I decided to write down, as fast as I could, what the Basin means to me – and the piece in the earlier posting was the result, my definition of the Atchafalaya Basin. I wrote it in 20 minutes and didn’t change a word when I finished. I still stand by the strong personal meaning in each line. As a matter of fact, at some point I intend to take each line individually and write my relationship to it, and make each one a blog posting. There will be births, and drownings, and smells, and alligators, and caged giants and worthy adversaries, and grosbecs in the pot (is there a statute of limitations on that?). I will tell you a lot about Rut Gajan in these stories. He showed me that the Basin is a place of harvest – fish, game, yes, but also the harvest of the smell of willow in the air in spring and the feeling of being in the lake in a lightning storm. I hope my grandchildren can some day relate to something that will remind them of things like this. The memories are treasure.

Anyway, my daughter says when I talk about something, I should try to put in a picture of it. Can’t always, but the rough cypress bench I made the other day for the deck is this one. Why does a saw make those marks? Napoleon seems to always be there, doesn’t he?

The river is at 6.6 today on the Butte La Rose gauge, and falling to 5.2 by Saturday. Like I said, Basin bass fishermen should be doing well, especially in the old swamp around the two Pigeons. The Mississippi and Ohio are starting to show some of the water that has fallen up there this week. It'll take a week or so for us to see it.

Rise and shine, Jim


Blogger opie-jean said...

So, out of all of those, which one stands for Eric? I read it twice and could not figure it out.

February 22, 2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger Brigette said...

Your words and musings about the Basin have inspired me to begin a blog of my own. Please keep writing! I am truly enjoying the pictures you are painting with your words and the snapshots of your digital camera.

February 24, 2006 2:50 PM  

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