Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Down on the Bayou

Camden, Maine

A Bayou is a relatively small, sluggish waterway through lowlands or swamps, generally with a slow, almost imperceptible current flow. There is a finger of land, bayou and swamp that extends about 125 miles south of New Orleans out into the Gulf of Mexico.

The people that live in this area tend to be fishermen or work in the oil industry offshore. There is a tribe of Native Americans here that adopted a strange form of French when they retreated into these swamps. They've never been recognized by the U.S. Government. They number about 750 and the island they use for an ancestral burial ground is now threatened by an oil slick.

I went down a year after Katrina to take pictures and see if there was any volunteer work I could do. They were too disorganized to need my help. The ancestors are all dead, of course but the birds, fish and dolphins were doing OK until recently. The GNP of the area is about two trillion a year. Possibly half of that could be lost because of the BP oil spill. The effects could be worse if shipping up the Mississippi river is interrupted because of oil slicks that ships might drag upriver. President Obama picked the wrong day in April to endorse offshore drilling.

We had a flock (?) of ravens in the campground last night. I've seen single ravens exhibit high intelligence, but ravens in groups are a little like people in groups...very stupid.

I put bread out on the picnic table and a flock of ravens waddled over, shrieking loudly. One raven took a single piece of bread and the other ravens all attacked him to get the single piece, leaving the table covered with bread.

Fame is a fickle food Upon a shifting plate Whose table once a Guest but not The second time is set. Whose crumbs the crows inspect And with ironic caw Flap past it to the Farmer's Corn -- Men eat of it and die. Emily Dickinson

It's raining hard here today. We're on the way to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. I'm trying hard to drink up my New York wine to avoid the customs duty going into Canada.

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