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LMRD 788 - Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 -- Ol' Magnolia

quapaw canoe company presents:
ol' magnolia

by allie grant

("ol' magnolia" is one a several designs being considered for the new mississippi state flag; this version is depicted in watercolor)

hello there,
ol' magnolia is delighted to meet you.
she comes to us as directed by The Creator, by way of artist john ruskey's hand; a vision realized by following a shimmering constellation of friends- i'll let them introduce themselves:

i am gold, but you can call me hospitality, or heroic soldier, wild sunflower, elvis' homecoming performance suit, the sunrise, the sunset, or harvest season. i am inclusion. i am the treasure of your heart. i do not wish to be bartered or traded. i do not want a house built from my remains. i do not need to be buried to be sacred. i simply want to glow. for you. within you. alongside you. yes, you!

i am red, but let it be known that i am all colors, all shapes, all forms, all roads, all fields, all horizons. i am the earth's skin. i am equality. i abide in you as you abide in me.

i am blue, but you do not know me as i know you. i am in all that you see and all that you do. i live in the waters and the sky and the very air that you breathe. i am diversity. long before you were born, i knew your name. i am heaven's curtain. i am the veins of the earth. i am your veins. i am your tears. i am whispers of faith. i am the dawn. i am of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. i am life. give, and it will be given to you.

i am a star, but i speak only in rhythms; i can only answer to the sound of your beating heart. when your dreams are full- and you are a state of dreamers- look to me; you will see me waiting. hold your heart up to the sky, like a voice cascading out of one tin can and traveling through a single thread to pour out into another, i shall shine for you as i listen. your dreams are already true.

i am the river, and i will not answer to you.

i am the fish, and we shall be your messengers to Mother River and Papa Gulf. there are seventeen of us, formulated and formed as links to the infinite (17; 1+7=8) Divinely calculated motions of hope, swimming on forever. protect us, their school of children, and Mama and Papa will protect you.

i am a magnolia tree, but you already know that. you and i go way back. you learned to climb by scaling the bark of my back, perching upon my shoulders, and pointing out through my blossoms. you can smell me anywhere. and everywhere. i am always cooking something up for you in the kitchen of history. i'm the face of home. there are seventeen blooms thriving here, just as there are seventeen religions flourishing in this state we love so deeply, all reaching in the same direction- upward and outward and onward. my blooms are forever unstained, the eternal blank canvas on which you may write the pages of your life, always blossoming in the timeless shape of a waving hand...calling you over..."well, well, welcome back. come on and sit a spell, won't you? how's your mama an'nem? crop's looking mighty fine this year. i know you've got to be workin' hard. i'm awful proud of you. don't stay gone so long next time, hear? it sure is good to see you."

so as the vines of the branch Who Knows
and the roots of one rainbow,
floating downstream and ascending to the sky,
the dreams of mississippi will never die.


allie grant is secretary for the quapaw canoe company . In addition to the river, her passions are literature, poetry, theatre, drama, youth arts programs, volunteerism, and caring for her 2 cats.


Balance, Diversity, Democracy

Quapaw Canoe Company core values are balance, diversity, and democracy, which all derive from our experience paddling big canoes on the big waters of North America. Balance is exemplified by the passage of our canoes. Everything we do is about keeping even keel. To do otherwise is dangerous to our health and well-being. Pandemic and police brutality are symptoms of the imbalance we seek to counteract in our services and work as canoe builders, guides & outfitters. Other imbalances include species loss, global warming, and loss of wild places. Diversity for us includes all peoples and all creatures great and small. We have always created equal access for all. Our staff reflects our regional demographics, around 60% Black and 40% White. Since 1998 we have made it our mission to make sure all communities found along the Lower Mississippi River enjoy equal access to the wonders of the big river, and the life changing experience of the wilderness. Our adventures practice the best qualities of Democracy. Everyone in the big canoe sets aside their differences and paddles together for the good of the whole. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Inherent in life is the right to breathe clean air, the right to drink clean water, the right to eat good food, and the right to live in healthy shelter, in healthy communities.


If you want to get outside, and get on the river, we have figured out how to do it safely, even amongst the challenges of the virus: one person, one family, one group at a time, no mixing & matching, and do your own food and shuttling. Cheaper that way also! See below for more info, or call trip coordinator Allie Grant 662-627-4070, guides John Ruskey 662-902-7841, or Mark River 662-902-1885, and we'll make it happen! (In Vicksburg-Natchez area call Capt. Layne Logue 601-529-7354 for other safe daytrip options).