“To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water.” — Barbara Hurd, Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs and Human Imagination
As many of you know, I love Louisiana. The reasons are numerous and complex — it is difficult to articulate. Louisiana is like a cadence, a song that you unconsciously begin to dance with, intuitively in step — if you stay just a hair too long. Ensuing muscle memory will haunt you if you leave and you’ll forever long for this place.
Earlier this year I ventured into the swamps for a bit with writer/editor Amanda Canning for a Lonely Planet Traveller feature, who came all the way from London, and promptly befuddled the Cajuns with her lovely accent. We spent some time in the swamps. Green to the ways of the swamp, we walked among the unseen alligators in the morning only to see many pairs of glowing red eyes by flashlight later that night. Happily, all limbs are still intact. We danced with fun-loving, big-hearted Cajuns, listened to fiddle music and melodies sung in French. And so much more.
Since my words remain insufficient to describe this experience (I’ll leave that in the capable hands of Amanda!), I offer up a few images here. Just know that the Louisiana swamplands are utterly magical and mysterious. You should go and see for yourself.