Monday, May 20, 2013

I'll Take You There

I know a place,
Ain't nobody crying,
Ain't nobody worried...

There is a place that could be up to 71% responsible for my life the way it is now.
This place is called Locustland. 

And I've been dancing, swimming, laughing, playing and falling in love here since I was a toddler. 

Never, in my life, since I was four, have I had a bad time doin' bruin. Which is a slang term for what it means to come to this cozy corner of the Louisiana Delta. It's not just Lake Bruin, a lake right off the Mississippi River, a remnant of the river. 

No. It's the Vizards. It's a special place because it's a special people.

Still dancing out here, 20 years later.
It's the people who live here, grew up here, and come here year after year. It's the long talks over wine and Sarah's birthday cake, and the privilege of roaming around this beautiful scene, so artfully touched and lovingly cared for by Becky and Michael Vizard. The hosts are the responsible parties for the happy and lovely energy I feel when I come here.

Doesn't matter who you are or what time it is, you'll have a good time.

So my mom and Becky met when Sarah and I were little ones. They discovered they were both awesome and instantly became friends. So did Sarah and I. My love for the Vizards and for their home has bound me ever since.

One of the most beautiful porches in the world, overlooking Lake Bruin and the cypress tress. 
So it became for me a place of fun, friendship, love, and dreams. Some of the funniest memories of my life took place in this place. Sentimental waves washing over, as you can see.

For instance, when this photo was shot, a dog fight was just starting to kick up. If you look closely, you can see that I am beginning to fall back and am screaming in horror, as Roscoe the Boxer prepares to attack Jackson in the middle. You can see Lucille the Spaniel on the left starting to come in and Celia on the right. The second row of people are oblivious while there is a priceless look on everyone in the front row. This is one of those shots that went off with a timer on someone's camera so everyone could get in. It was perfect timing. 
We have little traditions that get done differently every year. 

Missing and loving these wonderful friends.
The pontoon sunset cruise is another tradition not to miss. Along with the jumping off some random pier's high-altitude dock, thinking they're not home until you see fish in the bucket. "They're home!" Sarah yells. "Everyone back on the boat!"

The tradition is to lavishly set up a huge dinner table on the porch every year, complete with flowers from the garden and BBQ ribs from the pit (which I may or may not eat, as a tradition). Last year we had a flower arranging contest, which I am not humble enough to not tell you that I won last year.
Becky and I discussing something after supper, fall of 2009. You should see the garden.  
The dinner table usually gets cleared for the dance floor afterward. 

There's something in the air here. I know at least 4 couples who have fallen in love at Locustland, including my own, including Becky and Michael themselves, I believe. When I was 6, I had this idea somehow, this dream--that I wanted to live in the Delta, on farmland. That I wanted to live in a beautiful home with a flat cotton field in the front and a lake with cypress trees in the back, with a lovely porch and beautiful oak trees all around.

Wonder where I got this idea? This dream?

Funny how things work out. 
I got it from the abundant and richly joyful lives that I witnessed at the Vizards' home. From the high energy and pure happiness of this family. And their festive hospitality, and the beauty all around.

It's crazy how two seemingly different prayers, two separate dreams can collide into one big, huge gift straight from Above--that is just one of the ways I know I live exactly where I am meant to live. Thankfully, only an hour and a half away from where it all started. Where the dream was born.

Will and Sarah on the best porch, in 2011.
Can't wait for Sarah's Birthday/Memorial Day!

Me, Michael and Becky at a wedding. Life gives great real parents and all kinds of Heaven-sent second and third-string parents, if you're as lucky as I.
To my surprise, I was just flipping through my Garden & Gun last week, and noticed Locustland being noticed on a national platform.

Becky Vizard is a designer. That's how she met my mother. Her pillows, that she and other women sew and hand-make at Locustland are the stuff of the Sun King. Versailles, baby. I joke not. The most gorgeous fabrics and pillows you've ever laid your pretty eyes on. Walking into her home office is like walking into a textile temple. 

Becky inspires little dreaming farm-girls like me everywhere. Yes, you can live on a farm and have it all--love, family, culture, travel and joy. Yes, you can be a brilliant artist, successful doing what you love to do. Yes, you can live your dream anywhere you live, especially in magical, beautiful places like the corners of Delta that we live in. You can be as successful as you want, in the most peaceful place ever. Becky was one of the biggest supporters of my living in the Delta, marrying a farmer. Because she knows. She knows this kind of free life is the way to do it. to see what I'm talking 'bout. 

She is unbelievably creative. The beer-de-lier is also a Becky brainchild, a chandelier made from recycled bottle caps. One hangs on our back porch and is, along with BVIZ pillows in the living room, one of my most prized possessions.

Becky also shows how you can use your talents and dreams to help your community, however impoverished it may be. She employs local women to help her make the pillows, and local children get paid for the bottle caps they find for the beer-de-lier. 

You can read the article to get the story, but to me, there is so much more to these people and this place.

It's love.

Ready to get back.
Liza Jane

PS: This will most likely be the first of a little series on this topic, so much to say and an inherent part of my upcoming travels.

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