Sunday morning in Louisiana
The roads are quiet, the casino parking lots on both sides of the highway are nearly empty on this day of rest. Shreveport is promoted as “Louisiana’s Other side.” Having never been to the Southeast corner where New Orleans holds sway for good times, this may well be Big Easy country style. I’m not likely to find out on this trip.
The trees are just beginning to turn,a few red sumacs and oaks with burnt orange edges. It is chilly here this morning, lots of dew making mist when the sun shines.
What do I know about Louisiana?
Not too much. We are on the Interstate, a straight leafy corridor sliding through the northern section of this Southern state. These generic roads from city to city are an interaction free zone. Interstate Highways in any state are akin to traversing the intestine of the state; we just pass through. There is some commerce between traveler and locality; a snack or some gas. But for the most part, we come in and go out unchanged; like corn.
The important facts at this moment are these: there are a lot of churches, and most with the same steeple as if there is a “steeple supply” in each town next to “Tractor Supply.” The speed limit is 70 mph, the Highway Patrol drives white SUVs, and there is a fly in the backseat. The latter is only of interest to our dog companions; Bear and Mac who are always looking for some diversion from their padded position. Yesterday’s backseat activity was picking out the sharp sticky plant travelers who hopped aboard when Mac took advantage of a slack leash and a great smell.
What is in a smell?
Smell is not only a great skill of Canine Folk, it is their great joy, their Raison d’être. On our frequent roadside stops, both dogs approach each area with dedication and delight. As Cesar Millan, http://www.cesarsway.com/ notes; “Dogs are as interested in Pee mail as we are in Email.” Noses down, sweeping the area for sign and signal from their predecessors, Bear and Mac have investigated each comfort opportunity with unlimited zest. I believe we might be STILL be waiting for the final report on our first stopping place two days ago, the grassy edge of a Valero station, had the humans not prevailed.
At the rest area of the Sticky Plant there was a special treat. Both dogs were enraptured by a smell so sweet, so persuasive, that the pull of the leash and sting of the pricker bush was not enough to dissuade his enquiring nose. Was there really a sign left for the next dog? A combo of urine and spit that said, “There is a one-day dead disemboweled rabbit over there; under the sticky bush, to the right of the tree, …Enjoy!”
I imagine in a dog consciousness there is an exhaustive catalogue of nasal experiences that are continuously revisited and enjoyed. These choice moments are constantly updated as best, unusual, extraordinary and “Holy …..!”
Not unlike humans noting the landscape on the next towel at the beach, and updating their personal library.
We travelled a 20 mile stretch of road on the edge of Tyler, Texas yesterday that had no less than 7 “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” What an antonym. In the midst of a patch of dense forest on Route 31 there are such places as “Bare Assets,” and “Time Out.” Their existence wasn’t surprising or offensive, it was the extraordinary volume and the in-congruency of their surroundings.
I wonder if people and dogs are so different. Sometimes you just want a place to do your business in peace and sometimes the smell is too much for the pull of the leash.