Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remembrance of vacations past

The French side of my family (my husband's) has a habit of remembering what they were doing at different points during the year and comparing this year's April with last year's April, this year's autumn occupations with those of the last year's... "Was there much rain? Were there many mushrooms in the forest? It was dry with a scanty harvest two years ago. Lots of giroles and not many cepes. It was definitely in 1998 that we visited Ecouen; I know because we went there in the new Peugeot that we had just bought the month before. We couldn't have gone to William Christie's concert at the Theatre de Chatelet in 2001 because we knew the Bereaux already and we saw them there. It was in 2003!" And so on and so forth.

If there is any dissension, out come the datebooks to verify, because most things are noted down. Always comparing, pinning down, reliving the rhythm of seasons and events. Keeping time. My own memories are often more nebulous, but their ways have gained me little by little. So as I've been preparing for a different trip this year, I've also been thinking about last summer.

Everyone knows that July and August are not considered the optimal months for visiting Louisiana. Still, when one is in need of true heat and a real change with the sultry grip of a place's reality thrown in, it's a good place to go. The sacro-saint vacances d'été dictate a period of discovery, relaxation, or contemplation for the summer months - and if you can have all three, so much better the bargain.

Last summer at this time, I was in New Orleans and made a point to go down the River Road and off to visit more of southern Louisiana. Some of the places I had never been to and some I hadn't seen for a long time.

Hoary branches dangle over passing alligators

the graceful symmetry of oaken reverences

The Laura plantation, a new discovery for me and one of my favorites from last summer.The site is especially informative and has great pictures of Laura and the plantation's inhabiants.

a closer view of spirited creole color

Louisiana is a nostalgic place. Long ago, I lived there, but there's still room for discovery. Travel is often synonymous with exploring new places and people, but there is also a kind of unveiling of the familiar that comes with a different outlook, emphasized with distance and time. You can't go back? I like to think we share places that touch us and take a little bit of them away with us.
photos of Rosedown, Destrehan, Laura, and Shadows on the Teche plantations


  1. beautiful thoughts and images- enjoy and hope all are well. la

  2. Thank you, la. Tout va bien! Any thing left lingering will be carried off with pure Alpine air!