This morning late I eased through the big “S” curve on the west side of Scott, Louisiana, Pandora Internet radio filling the cab of my Tundra pickup with the raspy strains of Lawrrence Walker’s 1965 Cajun classic “Valse de Reno.”
On the way to Lafayette for a meeting, I had elected to travel back roads into town, and that moment and that place and that song just kind of came together into what I call an “epiphany of place.”
Yes, I realized this was a bright, early summer day imposed upon a picturesque rural landscape oozing the cultural riches of South Lousiana. (Summer doesn’t officially arrive until next week, but in Acadiana we measure the season not by the comings and going of the vernal equinox, but rather by the comings and goings of heat and humidity. It feels like summer down here weeks before the calendar says “It’s now summer”).
On the way home, I paused at a couple of places along the route to capture some images of the bucolic Cajun prairie to present as a blog commemorating not just this day, but any day that I drive across the sprawling open places of South Louisiana.
The Prairie here is certainly flat, but the flatness of the expanse is hardly boring because the land is rich in features: soy bean and rice fields bristling with early-season seedlings, watery crawfish ponds spreading along the roadside, homesteads and farm buildings dotting the openness, distant tree lines following winding creeks and bayous, and the roadway occasionally dipping beneath the flatness to curve through lush overgrowth at occasional crossings of these same creeks and bayous.
For me, the flatter the prairie, the better, because the farther I see, the more features in view. This is an elegant, charmed countryside.
I can’t replicate the 80 or so miles of coming and going for my readers, but I can provide a couple of photos from the way of today’s journey and include a link to “Valse de Reno” to commemorate today’s early summer epiphany of place.