My husband and I recently had the pleasure of driving up US Hwy. 61 North, from Vicksburg to Belzoni, Mississippi, which took us straight through the heart of the beautiful Mississippi Delta.
After leaving the hills of Vicksburg, Highway 61 is as about as flat and straight as a road can be, bounded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile Delta farmlands, literally stretching as far as the eye can see.
Hwy. 61 is also known as "the Blues Highway," because legend has it that blues music was born in the cotton fields and "juke joints" of the Mississippi Delta.
I love the Delta, because no matter how many times I go, I always find new and interesting things (to me, anyway) to capture with my camera. Like this single tree standing in the midst of the plowed fields, like an oasis in a desert.
Come August, I can imagine several of the drivers of the big cotton pickers resting in its shade for a quick lunch.
The landscape is also dotted with farms, barns, and cabins like the one in the picture below ... silhouetted against the horizon.
Along with the rustic farm cabins, you might also see homes like these ...
If I had to choose between the two, I most definitely would choose the second one, which is Mont Helena, a colonial revival style home built atop a ceremonial Indian mound in 1896.
Another familiar and fascinating sight in the Delta, especially this time of year, are the brightly-colored crop duster planes flying low over the newly-plowed fields spraying whatever they spray in preparation for planting (herbicides, insecticides, fertilizer?).
I've always admired the daredevil-like skills of the pilots as they swoop down, barely clearing power lines and treetops ...
On the outskirts of Yazoo City, I got a glimpse of a rusty tin roof on an old barn, partially hidden behind the tangled vines of a fence row. I asked my husband to turn around so I could get a closer look.
I love the contrast between the rusty tin roof and the brilliant blue sky in the background ...
And while I'm on the subject of barns ... as we approached the town of Rolling Fork, I was saddened to see the two large silos which are all that remains of one of the Delta's most picturesque and treasured landmarks, affectionately known as the "big red barn at Rolling Fork."
This is the way the barn looked a few years ago ...
During the early morning hours of Saturday, April 29, 2011, a strong storm with damaging winds passed through the area, destroying the barn. Only its twin silos remained standing. I captured the following pictures the next day ...
As we approached Rolling Fork, I told my husband that I needed to get some pictures of the silos so I could complete the final chapter in my collection of pictures of the barn.
That old barn was one of my favorite places to photograph, and it saddened me to see that the silos were the only reminder that it had ever been.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, we were traveling up Hwy. 61 North from Vicksburg to Belzoni, Mississippi, which is proclaimed "the Catfish Capital of the World."
But that's not why we were visiting the Belzoni area. We were looking for one of Mississippi's hidden treasures ... a wildlife management area called Sky Lake, which is home to some of the oldest and largest bald cypress trees in the world.
The word lagniappe, as defined by Webster's, means "something given or obtained gratuitously, or by way of good measure."
"Time never turns backwards
Its old charms to give,
In photographs only
Can yesterdays live."
~ Edgar A. Guest
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