December 10, 2012

Warning: Not Funny, But There Are Pictures

Even The Cackling Hen takes cackle breaks. Usually, this silent hiatus is seen by me just not writing anything for three months (there's nothing funny about a cold, grey winter). Although I try to slip in the occasional pearl of wisdom between clucks, this Hen post aims to keep the cackles sparse because I have something more to say (and I'm just not feeling that funny!)

If you're still reading, this post contains 9,000 words in picture form (again, they won't make you cackle). We are in Biloxi, Mississippi this week, a town battered by Hurricane Katrina. When I first thought of Biloxi, I just pictured its waterfront casinos, but after doing a little research, I learned that Biloxi, much like New Orleans, was devastated by Katrina.

At first glance, Biloxi is up and functioning like Anytown, USA. But at a not much deeper look along the coast, many signs of Katrina still linger. From eerie land plots with sidewalks leading to nowhere, to bits of piers sitting as islands in the gulf, Katrina's presence still haunts the rebuilt town 7 years after her visit. I stomped around just outside of our Sheraton hotel to capture images of Biloxi that haven't recovered like the casinos.

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To view these images larger, check it out on my Flickr.

I had such an eerie feeling walking through these empty lots that used to be people's homes. I wonder who lived here along the coast, what their homes looked like, and what it would feel like to have my family home leveled by a hurricane. Where did these people relocate and would they ever live along the coast again? The setting along the Gulf Coast here is so serene and beautiful, it is hard to imagine something so powerful coming through that would destroy entire buildings.

While much of Biloxi has recovered from the storm 7 years ago, it still looks like a ghost of what it once was. Once I noticed a few vacant lots that still have traces of pre-storm life, I couldn't take my eyes off each one I passed. We all deal with tragedies of all forms in our lives, but any of mine seemed minuscule compared to these ghostly lots. It reminds me that anything in life we have is fleeting and not guaranteed, so to appreciate what we have when we have it.

The next time my life seems so terrible because every cackling hen won't stop clucking while I'm trying to sleep on the bus and my wings are a little tired from being a show hen,  I'll aim to appreciate that my home coup and family are in tact. Too many along the Gulf Coast cannot say the same.

And if you're dissatisfied because you didn't get a cackle out of this Hen column, I warned you.

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