Cabins and Trees at Fontainebleau State Park

It’s spring break and today I took the Surly to the north shore for a little weekend vacation, just the two of us. After biking to and from campus for some quick work, I loaded us into the car, checked into the hotel (thank you, Southern Repertory Theater Backstage Bash Silent Auction!), and then headed back out to bike around Fontainebleau State Park. It was a truly beautiful day, the kind of day that reminds you how good it feels to share an outside world with other people and no television sets or computers or telephones. The park was still pretty empty, full mostly of RVers, a number of whom had their bikes with them. Bikes–common cause across the generational divide, perhaps? I started at the Visitor’s Center and the remains of the Fontainebleau Plantation Sugar Mill. Oh, right. This is the south. Our parks used to be plantations, but now they are recreation centers and that whole plantation business is charming history. It’s odd to be on this land and look at these oak trees and that beautiful sky and think about how much ugliness has happened here. I continued my ride out to the beach at Lake Pontchartrain. Kids were actually swimming in there! How come we don’t have a beach like that on our side of the lake? I snapped this picture of the private cabins you can rent here and that fantastic tree growing out of the sand. The cabins are rebuilt post-Katrina, and more are under construction just to the right of this photo. All of the sudden, though, public state park land became private, with signs warning trespassers all over the trees just in the foreground, out of this frame. The line between public and private property feels pretty arbitrary here, and I hope the public stays public. Days like today, I want it all to be shared. As complicated as this land’s history is, it is also just plain beautiful.

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