My brother and my nephew picked me up this morning to go out to Lake Martin over near Lafayette. We loaded three kayaks into my brother’s truck.. or I should say my brother loaded 3 kayaks into his truck. I watched. I’d been to Lake Martin a long time ago to see the heron rookery which is quite phenomenal. My first husband, my brother and his wife, and I walked up on a nesting mother alligator. Sammy, a wetlands biologist, was explaining to us about the mound nests they build, when they nest and how many young they have. In the midst of his explanation, we heard the alligator start hissing and it raised up on its legs and started moving toward us. We all started running … crap, that was scary. But, I remembered it was very beautiful there, and it’s not nesting time for gators right now.
I asked Sammy if I could bring Ashok since she kayaks with me, and he hesitated, “Well, if a gator sees her, he may come after her.” Yeah, maybe that’s not such a good idea. I suggested we bring the neighbor’s dog and just throw it overboard if the gator came after her, but, ultimately, I decided that wasn’t the kind of adventure I was seeking. The other day when I was out on the LSU lakes, a fish jumped out of the water and attacked both me and my dog. That was scary enough. Kayaking has different rules here.
We kayaked around Lake Martin, and I was surprised to see lotus. I have a lotus flower tattooed on my back. It’s not an American Lotus, I don’t imagine, but the American Lotus is what we saw today. The lotus is a beautiful flower that grows in swampy, muddy areas. It is the symbol of something beautiful growing out of something dark and murky. That’s why I had it symbolically tattoed on my back last May. It symbolizes the crap I went through during and after my second marriage and how lovely my life is now as a result. I pointed that out to my nephew and told him the connection between my tattoo and the beautiful leggy flower in the water. Sammy said the lotus that we saw at Lake Martin were from a strain that is over 1000 years old. It was really cool to see them. I asked him to talk about the lotus.
We didn’t see any gators – if you don’t count the ones we saw at the local convenience store – but we did see lots of birds, a skink – not to be confused with a South Louisiana skank – a teeny tiny little green frog and dragonflies. We stopped on the way home at a place called Chicken on the Bayou which served up the best fried crawfish po-boy I’ve ever eaten. They also sold moonshine if you wanted it, seafood, alligator and crawfish boudin, and fresh alligator meat. They had a stuffed pork roast that looked delicious. I didn’t bring any money because we were only going kayaking, but I will go back to sample some of their groceries.
We drove through Breaux Bridge which is a little town that I visited in my youth. My paternal grandparents had a camp on Henderson swamp, so we spent quite a lot of time in the Atchafalaya Basin and in the little towns in the area. Downtown Breaux Bridge was as cute as it could be. I’ll definitely go back there to do a little shopping and hanging out in the local coffee shop. Sammy said Cafe Des Amis has a Zydeco breakfast every Saturday morning that features Zydeco music, beignets and other traditional Louisiana breakfast items. I even saw a Bed and Breakfast or two near the downtown area. It sounds like a girls’ weekend event for sure. Stay tuned on that one.
On the way home, my brother updated me on the hiking and camping places in Louisiana that I might try, and I’m thinking of trying one tomorrow for my long run. I promised my nephew I’d take him out to Cat Island for a kayaking trip in the next few weeks when the weather gets cooler. Apparently, down here you are better off waiting until cooler weather not only for comfort but also for safety from critters that will eat your ass. He told me about some friends who went to Chicot State Park, and their dog …. well … didn’t win a fight with a gator. Hmmmm …. I don’t know if Ashok is going to like this.