Head below the Mason Dixon line and things gradually slow to an appropriate pace. There’s an easy rhythm to the people you meet from day-to-day down here. Unless you do something to draw their anger of course; and you’ll find yourself coming to some type of common ground in casual conversation much faster.
Take a ride around a small southern town and you’ll see all the details of something much more nuanced than given credit for. The history baked into the cobbled pavement by the summer sun weaves tales of heartbreak, oppression, triumph, rebuilding of identity, and a slow trudge towards progress fraught with so many potholes it almost looks like you’re not moving. Our narrative is very complicated and no one should ever try to tell you something different.
Depending on where you are, the night-time brings a thinning out of traffic and a calming quiet as the sounds of surrounding nature give you a reminder of their presence. Even in residential neighborhoods, you’ll grow used to falling asleep to the quiet hum of crickets outside your window. The bright lights of southern cities come to life with people out for a good time as well. But even Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Antonio have a different feel, than heading up north to New York.
There’s a magic about the South. Something that you can’t quite bottle and reproduce for profit. It’s something that only those who have grown up in it can properly appreciate, even if they can’t completely articulate what’s so special about it. It’s not a feeling of superiority over living in another region by any means either. It’s not just a shallow sense of pride in ‘heritage’ or any other colloquialism such as that. Because with just as many positives, I can find just as many flaws with this region of America (some would say more); and in light of many events in my personal life as well as what I’ve heard from others, I can definitely see that viewpoint.
But you can’t hide from your roots. Like the actual ones, our foundation grew from the very dirt that we’ve walked over towards our next destination. Our dreams and aspirations carved out of the very land where some of the worst atrocities were committed. That type of lineage produces a very specific individual. One strong enough to shoulder the burden of the past while still being strong enough to step forward into our own destiny.
I continue to write stories about people in extraordinary situations, sometimes even finding themselves completely out of their depth of understanding. I love science fiction and fantasy and hope to have my books line the shelves of stores some day; and I like to think that some of that inspiration first came from the amazing people and environments I’ve found myself encountering down here in the South.
Until next time.