Post for 4-5 July, 2021
On July 4, I took a day off in Natchez, Mississippi. I was due for my “weekly day off,” and I wanted to enjoy a nice town during the holiday. For me, any day off starts with coffee and writing, so I found a coffee shop, drank too much coffee, and let my fingers do their dance on my keyboard.
In the afternoon, I enjoyed seeing the Mississippi River again, since I hadn’t seen it while cycling on the Natchez Trace. Seeing the River was like seeing a friend again, but in just a couple of weeks, that friend had grown a bunch.
I also visited the Natchez Visitor Center to learn more about the Natchez Trace. One part was about the Natchez Indians. In their culture, women owned much of the land, and children took the names of their mothers. The Visitor Center had a range of history about Natchez. A part that caught my attention was that the town was active in the slave trade. That makes sense since slaves often came from New Orleans, and the Natchez Trace provided a route for slaves and owners to move north.
As I cycled back to my hotel, I noticed many people in outfits with stars and stripes. That made me wonder about the American flag. These days, I don’t wear stars and strips on my clothing, but I wore our flag on my Air Force uniform for 5 years, when I was in the Air Reserve.
These days, when I see an American flag, I think of all Americans, including the Natchez Indians, other Native Americans, and people who used to be slaves. In recent years, it feels like Americans with different backgrounds are getting further apart. On this and future July 4ths, I hope we can find ways to get closer together.
On July 5, some tough moments showed up. The roads were rough, the towns showed more poverty than I’ve seen before, and I got caught in another thunderstorm. But the day ended well, the people I was staying with picked up me and drove me to their very cozy bike hostel.
The song for this post is appropriate for the July 4 holiday.
Your sentiment about all people being drawn together rather than subdividing on the basis of race, religion, sexuality or any other human trait is one I share. Through travel, a person can see diversity and this is a powerful thing. Ride on!
Thanks George. Travel is such an important teacher, especially bike travel.