Dee and I and the girls when young escape Baton Rouge with its wild growth of everything green, escape bill collectors and everydayness. A few weeks before leaving I do a time-lapse sequence with the old Topcon camera and reveal in one week's time the constant sway of the grass to the sun and the frightening manner how quickly the rusty fence behind the house disappears from view beneath the heavy canopy. Like wild kudzu swallowing the earth. Dee and the girls and myself escape the vines and briars and grass that daily brush against jeans or bare legs along narrowing paths, escaping toward the white Gulf beaches of Florida. Never mind that those scenic beaches ahead of us are cleaned nightly by machines that filter bottles and beer cans and class rings from those unique grains of sand.
From the wetlands of south Louisiana through Slidell, feeling like giddy fugitives, to the Mississippi coastal towns of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, the places as a boy I vacation with my parents, all the gift shops along Highway 90 with statuary and shells signaling adventures of digging for buried treasure in that thin strip of sand and hearty sea grasses so illuminated by the white sun that anything colored reflects light like a mirror. On to Florida, each day of light, wind, and water, for a time moving Dee and I away from swamp and still-water bayous, away from emotional tangles and so much unsaid, away from the stillness of the house--its ticking of the roof from the hot sun like an erratic clock.