It was in the summer of 2005 and for almost twenty years I had dedicated much of my free time to searching out natural beauty within Alabama. For the last three years I had been exploring our navigable rivers and lakes. My final objective was to explore the Mobile/Tensaw Delta. After covering the upper Delta, I moved southward to explore The Basin Negro. Here for the first time I found masses of the American lotus, something I had long anticipated. They were even more beautiful than I had imagined.
What I could never have imagined was Smith's Bayou. Shortly after entering this waterway I came upon an S-shaped curve lined with lotuses left and right. Beauty radiated from all directions and it struck me as the most beautiful place I had seen in Alabama. I have noticed that people are often unaware of beauty unless it jumps out at them. I often cross paths with Alabamians enjoying the outdoors, but when I find extraordinary beauty in an ordinary subjects, they walk by without a second glance. No one misses a waterfall, but if a beautiful view is nestled in the trees along the roadside, hardly anyone will notice.
On this particular day, I found the only fishing boats in
the entire basin were crowded along a short stretch of the
beautiful S-shaped curve of Smith's Bayou. I attempted to
maneuver past them without scaring away the fish. One
fishermen asked me what I was doing and I replied that I was
working on a book of Alabama's natural beauty. He didn't
strike me as someone who would particularly appreciate such an
endeavor, but his reply was "If you're looking for
beauty, you sure are in the right place". The beauty of
Smith's Bayou is too great for anyone to overlook. Smith's
Bayou was one of the last places I explored for The Natural Beauty Of
Alabama and serves as an analogy for what I
have worked to accomplish. I would like to think that after
seeing my 126-image representation of Alabama, no one could
possibly overlook the natural beauty of our state.