In Week 10 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness I give thanks for beauty in Mississippi.
One bright Saturday morning, I drive out to Noxubee Refuge to do some reading and studying.
I park on the bank of a quiet little inlet, the water dotted by young bald cypress trees.
A number of people come and go, fishing from the bank.
Then this man walks to the bank with a bucket and two fishing poles. He sits down on the ground and casts. Shortly thereafter a whole gang of young children, four or five of them, come bustling across the road with their fishing poles and start plopping their lures in the water.
The man seemed utterly unbothered. He interacts with them, talks with them, instructing them to be careful.
Then the mother walks past, trailing the children. She sees me in the truck, stops, locks eyes with me and yells, “You want some kids?” She smiles. We laugh and she takes a seat near her husband.
After some time, a young black boy with dreads and camouflage pants walks up to where the family is camped out on the bank. He starts talking to one of the other children, then one-by-one he and each of the kids hug each other, and finally the boy hugs the father and mother.
The boy stands on the bank chatting for a while and then goes back across the road to where his family is fishing.
At some point both families, as different as they seemed, come together on the bank and earnestly behave as though they were one big family.
This is not the picture people tend to paint of Mississippi, but here it was –clear as day and beautiful.
What stays with me, is the expression of the children’s faces. That wasn’t tolerance. That was joy.
The beauty I saw on a bank of the Noxubee Refuge is the beauty I want to call out everywhere and for everyone in our great state.
Yes, we have grave challenges in Mississippi, but there is hope.
These people, just being people, sharing a pastime and the natural beauty of our planet, reminded me of that.
Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.