Long Story Short: Looking at and for bayous — blue and otherwise

When I was 13, I had never seen a proper bayou but felt a connection to them nonetheless — especially blue ones. All thanks to Linda Ronstadt.
I would sing that song to the top of my lungs over and over and over again.
I’m going back some day, come what may, to Blue Bayou. Where the folks are fine and the world is mine on Blue Bayou.
I recognized back then that Linda Ronstadt had a perspective I didn’t have. (I also knew she was from Arizona — a lot further from any bayous than my Mississippi home.)
The point was that there was something about that song that resonated with me. Maybe I had a premonition that some day I’d live on a bayou.
This fall, I’ve thought a lot of that song and the call of the water. In a matter of weeks, I’ve had unexpected opportunities to spend more time than usual on the water.
First, it was the small stuff. I went canoeing at dusk on Lake Martin. Friends and I spotted a bald eagle and watched him perched atop a water tupelo then swoop through the cypress toward a large nest. The trip barely lasted two hours, but I came home refreshed and armed with something I had never seen in Louisiana — a bald eagle.
Shortly after the Lake Martin canoeing, other friends asked if I could join them moving their catamaran from Cypremort Point to New Orleans. How could I resist? Traveling the Intercoastal Waterway was a thing of beauty (especially compared to the hours we spent stuck in the gunk of West Cote Blanche Bay). Let’s just say the new-up-to-date charts weren’t exactly accurate on the depth of the water. Thanks to experienced hands on deck (mine not included), we made it out of the bay and eventually were breezing along the Intercoastal.
Unlike Ronstadt, I am unfamiliar with the sunrise. I learned that boating hours generally begin earlier than the part of the day I know well. However, if my sleepy eyes were able to cast upon the morning light hitting the tall grass of the marsh, I might consider adjusting my biological clock. The sight was such a thing of beauty that I suspect the quiet of the morning and the specific shade of the green in the warm glow will stay with me for as long as I remember things.
Our trip up the Intercoastal included passing tugs, barges, a mountain of salt being loaded, a rope ferry, a couple of gators, fish jumping and many birds — including more bald eagles than we could count. The trip was a taste of a whole different world than I operate in on a daily basis — yet all within an hour’s drive from my home. Because of our foray into the muck of West Cote Blanche Bay, we didn’t make it all the way to New Orleans and docked in Morgan City instead. Turns out, Morgan City was for me, in my limited experience, an incredibly interesting place to dock.
Continuing the water fall, my dad decided to rent a houseboat out in the middle of the Atchafalaya Basin for the week of Thanksgiving. I spent considerable time wrapped in a kiwi green fleece blanket on an old Army cot at the edge of a tiny porch of an old red houseboat docked in a cove bursting with water hyacinths. Sometimes I thought and talked with family and friends. And other times, I just looked at the silver moon.
I felt the world was mine even though the bayou wasn’t blue.

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