The Marchioness returns to the Canebrakes (Part Three)

Alongside the highway between Eutaw and Demopolis there’s a large field dotted with strange sculptures. They’re made of hay bales, or welded together from junk metal. Any passer-by is welcome to stop and explore. I first visited the place at least twenty years ago. It was an afternoon in August and the heat silenced us all as we waded through the wet air. I was glad to see the display was not only still there, but that it had grown.Read more

The Gift of Sight

Until recently, I could never have been an artist. My chronic short sight would have been beyond correction. Without glasses, my focal point lies, with my left eye firmly shut to let my right one see, at the tip of my nose. I would have been, as was recently pointed out to me, fully dependent on others, a beggar if I had been poor. But I was born in a century where my sight could be treated, and I’ve beenRead more

The Exile

In the early summer of 1817, a group of French settlers arrived in the wilderness of what would become southwest Alabama. They were Bonapartist exiles- among them Napoloeon’s foremost generals and aristocrats, forced to leave France after his final defeat. Where the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers meet, they founded the town of Demopolis, but their efforts to cultivate a ‘vine and olive colony’ there were doomed from the start. I read this story (for it feels like a folktale)Read more