Friday, January 05, 2007

Mississippi Miracles

On Monday, after a weekend of unpacking and being in the house, K. and I were ready to start off the New Year with a little.. adventure.

Being nosy non-drinking types, we headed to Sardis Lake, a lake north of Oxford that apparently everyone and his brother goes waterskiing on.

Lakes are different down here. They're manmade for sport. Because of cottonmouths and other water nasties, ppl don't really go swimming in them. Although thank heaven we're too far north for alligators.

But a lake is a lake, and so we drove to it. I had my nose in a book, planning our San Fransisco vacation, and so when K. broke into laughter and slowed the truck, it took me a second to look up.

He was laughing at the lake. Or rather, the absence of one.

Sardis lake, boat ramps, signs, picnic tables and all, consisted of a vast sea of...mud. Dotted with dead standing trees and occasional glimpses of flat blue water. It looked like an alien landscape under the big blue sky.

"Maybe we're on the wrong side," said I.

"There's a road," said he, pointing to a gravel road that streaked through the mud.

Being in our Tundra, the dogs in the back, we elected to take the road.

And we crawled along appily enough for a full five minutes, until we reached a dip that was filled with shimmering blue water. The earth, cracked and fissured, looked sturdy enough to go around said dip.

So we did, and promptly, despite me bouncing in the back, despite K. sinking in the deceptively soft mud to get pieces of wood for the tires, despite our kick-ass four wheel drive, we got stuck.

The air was very cold and clean, the sky very blue, and we were marooned in the middle of this vast mudpit. I laughed, and luaghed, and laughed. And bless his heart, K., inches of clay stuck to his new sneakers, laughed too.

Then I spotted them on the horizon. Four-wheelers. They spotted us, and within moments, we were surrounded with eight four-wheelers laden with big men and boy-men, all decked out in camo, with two dogs accompanying them.

"Why didn't you stay on the road?" The biggest one asked.

"It's full of water," K. said, and I nodded my Virginian head.

"Lined with concrete," the man said. He held his hands about a foot and a half apart. "Ain't but that deep anyway."

We felt very dumb, and even dumber a minute later when we asked where the hell the lake was anyway.

"They drain it every winter," another man said. His boy-child said, "we just come out here to play."

Three of the fourwheelers winched and towed us out within minutes, while another boy-child stared in the windows at me, snapping madly away, and Shadow and Dido. "You have two fat dogs," he said, and though I smiled, that's just not true.

When we were back on the road, the four-wheelers wheeling around us like mechanical herding dogs, we gave them our sincere thanks.

"Welcome to Mississippi," the boss one said, and then they streaked away.

We ended up driving on and letting the girls play. Despite the mud, it was a better beginning to a new year than I could have dreamed up.


Anonymous said... know you're in Mississippi, when the lake goes away for the winter/????why do they do that?? To cut down on the number of cottonmouths???

Great story/great photos--

Anonymous said...

I literally laughed out loud for a minute. My head hurt a little from last night already; thanks for making it worse.



PS. These word verification things are a trip to decipher sometimes.