Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Deep South and My Misconceptions

The Deep South Has Four Seasons...

Yeah, I know. I was wrong. I had often thought until coming here that the "deep South" meant that it was always hot and humid. For most people, of course, that sounds naive, but until I actually started visiting Louisiana, Mississippi, etc. I was too lazy to give that concept much thought. But here it is six days before winter, and I can tell you that it's colder here in Columbus, Mississippi, than it is in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and it's going to get colder. I also never thought about just how far north Columbus, Mississippi, was in relation to Las Cruces, which is in southern New Mexico. Columbus, Mississippi, is actually on a line just below Albuquerque, New Mexico, almost two hundred miles north of Las Cruces. If your mind's eye is failing you in visualizing this, here's a map I've fixed up for the visualization:

As you can see, Columbus, Mississippi is actually above Dallas, Texas. Yes, it doesn't look like it on this map, but I-20 runs through Dal/Worth, TX, Shreveport, LA, and Jackson, MS, and then you have to drive northeast up to Columbus, Mississippi almost 150 miles from Jackson.

Winter Storm in Mississippi
I just did not realize that all of Mississippi was above much of Texas. The saving aspect of my winter realization that it's cold in my area of Mississippi is that it doesn't snow much. But ice storms are not out of the question since Mississippi gets a lot of rain in the winter!

I've had eye-opening realizations about other things about Mississippi, but especially Columbus, where I now live, concerning the weather, the sky at night and during the day. I thought that because Mississippi had a lot of humidity (compared to the desert) that the night sky would be obscured by a kind of hazy aspect. But I can see the same constellations here that I was able to see in Las Cruces, and most times the humidity isn't a factor. We get clear, crystal-blue skies in Mississippi, too, which delights me, since that's one thing I miss about living in the desert.

Until moving to Mississippi, I really had no
idea that there would be beautiful skies like this.
While this next picture is from the Mississippi delta on the western side of Mississippi from Columbus, I've been delighted to see this kind of sky with puffy clouds and clear blue sky. But with the advent of winter here, my first time living through this season, I'm afraid I will miss the desert of New Mexico off and on. I won't be spending Christmas with Cliff, nor his parents, nor friends and family in Las Cruces. 2016 is turning out to be a year of firsts. The first time in 25 years that Cliff and I have lived apart, purchasing my first house—ever—and a whole lot of other things. I also think that maybe Christmas will be melancholy for me this year, although I've never celebrated Christmas with any sort of real enthusiasm. At Thanksgiving this year, I ate dinner by myself at Ryan's all-you-can-eat buffet. I won't be going there for Christmas dinner, though. I think I'll join others at either Waffle House or Huddle House, and get into the spirit of being among others who have to work or who have no real place to go on Christmas. I'm bound to be able to wring something of meaning and substance from that experience. I'm not one to feel sorry for myself. But this year, Christmas will just be "another day".

Maybe my state of mind this winter will sound something like this: Johnny Winter playing Leland Mississippi blues.

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