Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Observations from the Road: The Georgia Edition

I spent much of the last week in a car, as we made our way to my spouse's Board meeting at Lutheranch, in Tallapoosa, Georgia; along the way, we picked up a college friend and his wife, so that they could visit the friend's brother, who just happens to live in Tallapoosa--what are the odds of that?!! 

Yesterday's post was inspired by the cold that travelled with me (my body as stagecoach!  clearly I'm not done with these metaphors).  Today I want to record some other observations so that they don't become lost as I zoom on towards the future:

--If you ever wanted a lot of land, much of southern Georgia seems to be for sale.  As we traveled north on Interstate 75, I was struck by how many signs offered acres of land for sale.  Affordable?  I have no idea.

--I always forget how beautiful western Georgia is until we're there:  rolling hills, lakes, and a vastness that I don't sense in South Florida.  All this nature, and just an hour away from downtown Atlanta.  But you wouldn't know it when you're standing on the ranch land that is western Georgia.

--This year the land was still waiting to burst into bloom.  Last year, the year without a winter, we saw more foliage:  dogwoods, specifically.  I miss dogwoods.

--I must remember that if we moved, I'd miss the foliage of Southern Florida:  bougainvillea and hibiscus and the other tropical beauty.

--We listened to old country music, and I'm struck, as always, by how relevant it still seems.  Listen to the "King of the Road," a song that's strangely joyful about being "a man of means, by no means."

--If I'm ever cut loose from employment, I'd love to ramble across the country when I had time for all the side trips that tempt me, but would take so much time.

--For instance, I'd love to go to the Andersonville site, home of one of the most brutal Civil War POW camps which has now been turned into a meditation on POW sites in general.  My college friend would like to take a pilgrimage to Plains, Georgia.  But these sites are not along the way--it's a 4 hour detour, at the least, which turns into a trip in and of itself, and not just a stopping point.

--I met a man who said his great grandfather came back from Appomattox and started a grist mill, and his family's been there ever since.  It's a different Southern history from the history that surrounds me in South Florida. 

--It's the history that surrounded me from childhood through my early adult years.  At points, I found it so oppressive that I dreamed of places like South Florida, a land of immigrants who weren't bound by their past.

--Foolish youth!  Our past--personal and collective--binds us in so many ways!  Exile, immigrant, refugee, rooted--we're all shaped in ways we can barely fathom.

--Sometimes I'm happy when I return to South Florida, but yesterday I was jangled.  The traffic seemed heavier than normal, the weather oppressively hot and humid.

--My spouse also noted that everyone seemed snarling and ready to shoot each other.  I said it was as if we're waiting for a thunderstorm.  He said he had noted behavior at the gas station around the corner from our house that he usually only observes as a hurricane approaches.

--So, as other poets and writers made their way to and from Boston, I made a different journey.  I'm glad I wasn't trying to navigate AWP with my humdinger of a cold. 

--For the past several years, I've thought about a panel presentation that I'd like to put together for AWP, women poets talking about the ways they use fairy tales in their work, actual working poets talking about the creative process, as opposed to scholars talking about them.  Every year thus far, I've missed the deadline.  Do I want to go for Seattle?  Stay tuned!

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