Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stroke recovery: Mark and Ann’s neighborhood

On the bayou
For more than a year, walking buddy Ann and I have tried to match our family schedules so that my husband and I could accept the invitation to visit her and her husband Mark at their home on a bayou.

We finally made it on a pleasant, mild day in June. Those months of waiting had heightened my anticipation. During those months the slow but real progress in my stroke recovery journey had also equipped me to enjoy our visit even more!

As I navigated their spacious backyard, Ann gave me the tour of their productive “square-foot gardening” veggie patch. Ann and I have been swapping garden triumphs and aggravations during our walks. Visiting Mark and Ann’s veggie garden was a treat.

Is it crazy to get such pleasure out of poking around another enthusiast’s horticultural domain? If so, I’m definitely certifiable.

Then the couple guided us to their comfy boat dock retreat, an open, roofed structure over the water, complete with fish stirring the water and a three-foot alligator keeping an eye on us from the water near the opposite bank.
Can you see the bayou neighbor?

Ann had prepared a sugar-free, gluten free, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake dessert. She also had a tasty Darjeeling tea for me, the only one of the group who was not a coffee drinker. Lively conversation, laughter, a delightful breeze and taste buds dancing in cheesecake ecstasy, what could be better?
Nature’s therapy

Well, a tour of the bayou neighborhood and adjacent stretch of the Pascagoula River, that’s what. A year ago, boarding the couple’s pontoon boat would have been doable but scary for me. My balance is a lot better now, and everybody helped make sure I didn’t take a tumble and develop a closer relationship with that alligator.

Interstate 10 bridge from the river

Most of our major trips east take us over the Interstate 10 bridge that spans the Pascagoula River and salt marsh. On those drives across that high bridge, I always watch for the bird’s-eye view of the saltmarsh, an iconic estuarine habitat. But I had never seen this particular marsh and bridge from sea level.

I wasn’t confident enough about moving around on the boat to expand my photo options, but that didn’t stop me from snapping wildly in hopes that my camera would capture something of the visual therapy I was experiencing. The mix of manmade and natural had me snapping.

Expanse of water, marsh and bridge capture my fancy.

More lush bayou foliage greets our return from the river.

Thank you, Mark and Ann, for a happy and healing outing!

Mark, our host, boat pilot and tour guide 


  1. This sounds so delightful! My balance is so bad that I would have never been able to handle my camera at all!!

  2. That sounds like a pleasant visit! Your pictures are good enough to bring the essence of the area to us. That's what matters.

    I've driven over that bridge a number of time on the way to my daughter's home in Florida. I must admit, I don't remember that particular bridge or river; By the time I'm there I'm growing tired enough to be very focused on my destination. I doubt I will ever make the trip on land again. I think I will always fly because I can't make the drive alone.

  3. Boating is such a relaxing activity. Loved that shot of the bayou foliage. Sounds like a perfectly lovely visit.

  4. i love the view of the bayou that is next to last.. what a wonderful visit. so happy for you that you can navigate well enough to take that boat trip... i am feeling peach and quiet just reading about it.

  5. Never been on the bayou, though I have read about it. This sounds like a lot of fun.

  6. Your visit and outing sound delightful! I enjoyed your photographs, too :)

  7. A wonderful day. I am like you always intersted in another hort's work. All the rain here has turned my rose bushes into monsters with awfully long tentacles. Happy Gardening. Dianne

  8. Dear friends can be the best therapy.