The bayou

Spotify introduced me to a song called The Bayou last week and I can’t stop listening to it. I don’t know why. There’s nothing particularly monumental about the song. It’s just a woman singing about a bayou with some guitar in the background.

From what I can tell it’s a story of becoming unstuck. Of getting out of something that is detrimental to you. The bayou is both a place of escape and a place needing to be escaped from.

What’s interesting is the actual stagnant like nature of bayou’s. They are typically characterized as slow moving streams. But unlike most normal streams, bayou’s don’t have a predictable current. Their current switches back and forth on a whim. If it’s flowing north to south one day, a bayou could just as easily float south to north the next.  

Unlike the water of a river like the Columbia or Mississippi that’s always in line with a trajectory, the water of a bayou could end up in the same mile length of a stream for years on years on years. Going back and forth with the current. Stuck.

This current shift is caused by something known as brackish water. Which is water that has some salt water, but not as much as the ocean. And some fresh water, but not as much as a typical lake. It’s caught somewhere between. 

So the water in a bayou is the classic case of an identity crisis. It’s stuck yet it flows and it’s not quite salt yet not quite fresh. It water but it doesn’t meet any of the actions or qualities of the water we think of.

But the interesting part about all this is the abundance of life present in such places. Brackish water is the perfect condition for fish, shrimp, crawfish, and all types of animals. It’s the only conditions where they can survive.  

Life can seem slow. Like we are bouncing back and forth and never making progress. Like we are tainted. It can take on a lot of the characteristics of a bayou, quite frankly. But what is it in those seasons that finds a way to thrive? Because there has to be something.

Life in these periods does not have the conditions we’re used to at all. It’s uncomfortable and seems stagnant. But if the life of a bayou is any indication, such conditions might be perfect for some type of life. We just need to work on developing the fresh eyes to discover it.