Mississippi to Mobile: We are a Long Way, Along the Way

Somewhere in Mississippi.

Today, we are in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Back in salt water, back with the alligators, back to the Gulf, returning to Florida to cross our wake and the 6,000 mile mark. Here we are, reshaped, changed and evolved from where we started.

Dog River Marina in Mobile. Home for the week.

Mississippi was a magical land and waterscape. For the first time in my life, I saw fields of blossoming cotton, traveled along the rolling roads through Mississippi farmland, listened to the joyful and heartfelt spiritual testimony of a local boat mechanic. These experiences encompass the meaning of “moving”- Literally, “in motion” on Irene, down the rivers and creeks. And, figuratively, moving emotionally through the people, places and “strong emotions” we experienced along the way.

When we conceived of this epic adventure, this dream from David’s proverbial bucket list, we were truly moved by spirit to take the leap of faith it required to donate, give away, sell, bury and burn, nearly all of the physical possessions we had acquired over our collective 130+ years on this planet. That experience catalyzed an entire series of events and accelerated our progress towards the journey. We lightened ourselves up to move freely and away from the dailiness of lives that were conditioned to separate work and play. Moved to gather experiences rather than things. Able to listen to spirit and follow our soul’s paths; stepping out of fear and into love.

The rivers through Mississippi and Alabama are wide, winding and a rainbow of colors and textures, from red mud to white sand. Around every corner is another corner, toe head after toe head and long portions of dredging, sand bars, missing navigational cans.

The White Cliffs of Epes. Chalk formation from the same period as the White Cliffs of Dover.

Turning the clock back changed our days dramatically in this central time zone. Earlier sunrises brought thick fog as the temperatures cooled significantly overnight. We never imagined that Mississippi and Alabama’s temperatures would descend into the 30’s. We realized that the earlier sunsets would redefine the hours we had available for traveling each day however; until we physically had to wait or move through thick fog to reach the sparsely spaced safe harbors and anchorages by sunset, we truly hadn’t a clue.

Sunrise at the Warsaw Cutoff anchorage.
And sometimes, the fog just creeps in.
Egrets being Egrets in the Heflin Lock. Alabama somewhere.
Foggy morning locking through at Demopolis, Mississippi.

These days have tested are endurance, and our abilities to attend and concentrate, but they also keep refilling our “cups” with the unbelievable beauty of the natural world, the kindness of the people inhabiting these deeply rural places, the noises of owls and herons screaming at night (a crazy loudness of life you never heard before). Cups filled by anchorages up little creeks that simultaneously terrified and delighted us. Filled by hours of silence and hours of singing out loud. Days punctuated by no cell service and nights so dark that we witnessed a new intensity of starlight and moonlight like no other.

Entering Bashi Creek, Alabama.
Dusk on the river.

We have learned to converse with barge and tug captains– Using language and terms that felt kinda’ silly at first, we understand the deep importance of now. We own those words. They’re part of our vernacular now.

Barge passing us on the dock at Bobbi’s Fish Camp. Jackson, Alabama.

We are not the same people we were before we embarked on Irene. Everything we have seen cannot be unseen. Everything we have felt cannot be unfelt. Everything we have learned cannot be unlearned. I am reminded now of Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem, The Summer Day. It speaks to our experience more than any words I can conjure up this morning. And, it speaks to the message I wish each of you would take to your heart and mind and ask yourself as you compose your own life.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
The one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
the one who is moving her jaws back and forth, instead of up and down--
who is gazing with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down,
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Remember friends, follow your guidance. If it makes you happy, it is meant to be. If you feel triggered, sad, anxious, or fearful, turn to your right mind, turn to love. Love is the portal. Lighten up dear friends and live the life you came here to experience; be the light that is your birthright. Take that to heart. Until we meet again– “may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain”. We love you.

Alabama River Cutoff anchorage 11/11/21

6 thoughts on “Mississippi to Mobile: We are a Long Way, Along the Way

  1. kathyyost01

    We have been wondering where you are! Thank you for your update. Your words fill my heart and soul with unending love for you. Through all the days and months of your epic adventure you have been snug in my heart, remembered in my daily prayers and a source of admiration, awe, fear, anxiety and relief every time we speak.❤️

    I love your writings your voice reminds me to remain calm, to breath deep, to let some things simply go. I have missed you beyond words and cannot wait to welcome you both home.

    Stay safe. See you soon.

    All my love, Kathy

    Sent from my iPad


  2. perkks

    Love you! ❤️
    Through your words I know you have enjoyed your journey, created memories that will last forever, and fulfilled a dream. But I must ask, would you do it again? And, will you do it again?

    Counting down to your safe return to Florida. ♥️

  3. Wendy Hobbins McGrath

    LOVE the words, the pictures, the authenticity and heart, and above all, YOU!

    Your post reminded me of a favorite poem. You probably already know it, but in case you don’t or in case you forgot and/or just because it’s so beautiful and true (like you), here it is:

    Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes

    Hokusai says look carefully.
    He says pay attention, notice.
    He says keep looking, stay curious.
    He says there is no end to seeing.

    He says look forward to getting old.
    He says keep changing,
    you just get more who you really are.
    He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
    yourself as long as it is interesting.

    He says keep doing what you love.

    He says keep praying.

    He says everyone of us is a child,
    everyone of us is ancient,
    everyone of us has a body.
    He says everyone of us is frightened.
    He says everyone of us has to find
    a way to live with fear.

    He says everything is alive–
    shells, buildings, people, fish,
    mountains, trees, wood is alive.
    Water is alive.

    Everything has its own life.

    Everything lives inside us.

    He says live with the world inside you.

    He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
    or write books. It doesn’t matter
    if you saw wood, or catch fish.
    It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
    and stare at the ants on your veranda
    or the shadows of the trees
    and grasses in your garden.
    It matters that you care.

    It matters that you feel.

    It matters that you notice.

    It matters that life lives through you.

    Contentment is life living through you.
    Joy is life living through you.
    Satisfaction and strength
    is life living through you.

    He says don’t be afraid.
    Don’t be afraid.

    Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

    Let life live through you.


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