Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bayou

I can't write. I finally have to admit that I've hit a barrier. Not writer's block, more like a bottomless depth of feeling; too many sadnesses and not enough words for expressing them. Memorial Day memories, the destruction of the Gulf Coast shoreline, an unexpected passing, betrayals. I find myself lost in a bayou of emotions, each path turning back in on itself rather than leading me out. But it is a bayou and I am a Louisiana girl. Even though there are false paths and those that constantly shift, I should be able to find my way out. Even when it gets messy. Real Louisiana bayous may become just memories of existence thanks to the Botanicus Petrificus (a nod here to JKR - petrificus totalus) that threatens on the horizon. Now I wonder - was it a caveman drilling accident that caused the tar pits?

Since the paths lead me everywhere but out, I may as well examine this emotional environment. How did I get here? I was trying to write a tragedy. I opened my heart up to feeling the pain and grief as I wrote. Unexpectedly, I became very attuned to the tragedies around me - past, present and future. Yes - future. Just think about it - as bad as the Gulf situation is now, the future looks absolutely devastating. Nature took thousands - maybe millions of years to create the intricate tapestries of the Louisiana wetlands. One selfish bureaucrat in a self-serving corporation made a decision that could end it all. The number of prior selfish, self-serving decisions that allowed him to be in that position only took place within the last decade or two (a nod here to Barbara Boxer, Rachel Maddow). It's unconscionable. It's criminal. A fitting punishment? Confiscate their profit every year until the Gulf is at least as it was before the mess they created. Even doing that is not nearly as bad as the punishment they have inflicted on the Gulf and its residents. My imagination is in overdrive trying to think up a punishment as bad as that. Maybe top management should be forced to leave their jobs and try to eke out a living in the environment that they have ruined. Even that won't be as bad as it should be. Louisiana folks are generous and loving; many can't stand to see anyone suffer. They will probably pitch in and help them. don't you know?

Following that path has led me back here, where I started. How about another? Memorial Day. Brings back bittersweet memories of my Dad. He did not die in combat, but he did serve honorably and proudly. My memories of him are as a truly absent-minded professor. He spent decades preparing students for their professions. To my six year old mind, the 'CBI Theater' meant the movies. When I finally got the courage to ask my Dad why he spent the war at the movies, I got a history lesson on that part of WWII - after he'd finished laughing. It took a while - for him to stop laughing, not the lesson. My dad was my rock in a stormy sea. The Rock of Gibraltar. I took all kinds of chances - good ones, stupid ones, ones that I cringe to think about. Not once did I think of falling or failing - all because I had my rock. Now a tsunami is coming in - and I'm rockless. Not even a buoy. Looks like I'd better swim for it - and fast. Or - maybe I should be my own rock. There's an idea. What if I'm not ready? Hell - I'd better be. It's now or never.

Now I'm on one last path, where I must face the unexpected passing of a beloved aunt. The story isn't mine to tell, but there's grief that is mine to feel - deeply.

Now I'm wandering through a mire of minor betrayals - people gone missing; being damned by faint praise. I know that I shouldn't give either of these things the honor of being the last straw. At least having family and friends near helps to lighten the disappointment.

Two days later:
In spite of all, I tried to master the bayou. To learn it's paths and shifts so that I could make my way out. It took me a while to figure out that the way out is up - gotta make myself a rock big enough to be seen from anywhere down here among the moss covered willows. Then I climbed the rock, high into the clouds. Finally!  The sun.


  1. Hey Cathryn,

    I know what you mean. I have been drowning in my own personal hell for quite some time now. For me I am constantly looking for someone or something to save me when in reality I need to learn to save myself. Easier said than done, but I have to at least try.

    My heart goes out to you because I know. And I am not one of those people who says "I know" but has no damn clue, I actually do know about dealth, betrayal, overwhelming emotions, and haunting memories.

    Hang in there friend.

  2. Thanks for the note. Love 'The Journey'.

  3. Oh, I do get it, believe me. I feel and hurt and miss people every day of my life. Life is a constant roller coaster (and I DESPISE roller coasters)! Everything will be okay... Great writing!


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