Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mississippi Nights

A Shift in the Times I'm Awake

One of the pleasures I get from my new life in Mississippi is going out on the porch at night, or maybe close to the end of dusk. Because it is now summer, I'm usually guaranteed that it's going to be syrupy warm. But coming from inside the house, which is cold and crisp, it feels good for a little while to let the sultry warmth soak into my skin, my body. I've only been here for a little more than a month, and yet my skin has gone from dry to something a little more hydrated. The dry patches in my scalp and the spots of dry skin on my arms and back have begun to diminish—I swear it.

Maybe humans are still very close to our water nature. In southern New Mexico, the humidity is rarely above 20% and the sun dries and bleaches everything, including drying up plastic and turning painted surfaces to a powder. In the desert nothing rusts.

This is a typical highway in Mississippi between
moderate sized towns.
I enjoyed going out after the rain on July 5th, because it brought out the frogs that filled the street with a kind of plaintive song, and even though the fireflies are not very numerous, it brought them out to add little streaks of light, not more than a few feet from where I was sitting, recessed in the shadows of the porch, hidden by the greenery. Mine is a quiet stretch of street, but I could hear the occasional left-over fireworks going off on other streets. But it was just quiet, except for the various insects clacking and buzzing, but even those were not overwhelming.

Oh, and as I indicated, I've been staying up later, going to bed sometime after midnight, so when I step outside one last time for the night, I feel that I have the warmth and humidity, the night sounds, the peace all to myself. It's a good time to contemplate things. Did I make the right decision to buy a house in Mississippi of all places, even though those who had never been here advised against it? I do have to take into account Mississippi's reputation and I have to believe the statistics that put this state at the bottom or nearly so in many categories. But that's nothing new to me. New Mexico is also at the bottom of many categories of statistic, but people's uninformed opinions (because they've never been here), the fact that Mississippi is basically a state of small to medium towns, that it is not the economic powerhouse of Alabama, right next door, or Texas two doors to the west—none of this is important when I like what I find here, which I've written about in other posts.

Columbus, Mississippi offers me a lush, warm, friendly environment; nor do I feel stressed from a faster pace, nor enraged fighting through miles of bumper to bumper traffic. Maybe Columbus isn't for young people who are itching to live a fast-paced life, but it's fine for me, and I realize, too, that many of the people in the neighborhood are retirees from somewhere else. And the property here is affordable, as is the cost of living. In my next post I will show you what some of that property looks like and how much it costs. If you're from California, I guarantee that you'll be gob-smacked at what a dollar will still buy—try $134 for electric, sewer, and water and running my AC 24 hours a day.

And later, my partner will be joining me and we'll be reconfiguring our lives for the next phase of living.  I guess that's it. Now I have to go let my two little twin calico kittens out of prison (the master bath and bedroom), so they can run around the rest of the house and wear themselves out before I go to bed. Did I mention that they climb and jump, and inadvertently dig their claws into my tender skin in their exuberance to be up on the bed with me?


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