Monday, October 03, 2011



Each fall something strange happens. No matter where I live when that first feathery breeze, breathing a taste of cool, washes over me, moves the strands of hair framing my face with a gentle preview, I feel the change and breathe deep. Then I race to whatever music-playing machine I have at the moment and put on the one and only song which captures and expresses what goes on in my heart. The Indigo Girls’ voices flow on out on that cool breeze and sing while I close my eyes and follow…

 And there's something 'bout the Southland in the springtime
Where the waters flow with confidence and reason
Though I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too long
Till I'm home again to spend my favorite season
When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'
There's no place like home and none more pleasin'
Than the Southland in the springtime

I wasn’t born a yankee but I might as well have been for all the denial I’ve run into in my life about whether or not I’m southern. I don’t talk like one (most of the time). I don’t seem to act like one (though I can when I want to) and so people tell me that just cause I was born and raised in NORTH Florida, I’m not southern. Even in Texas I got that, though I lived there eighteen years.

Maybe we'll make Texas by the morning
Light the bayou with our tail lights in the night
800 miles to el paso from the state line
And we never have the money for the flight
I'm in the back seat sleepy from the travel
Played our hearts out all night long in New Orleans
I'm dirty from the diesel fumes, drinking coffee black
When the first breath of Texas comes in clean

My father was born in Ocala, Florida, my mother in Lynchburg, Virginia. Now wasn’t Virginia part of the south way back when, and even now? Not that it really matters. This song sings to me, to my soul because it doesn’t matter where I was born. What matters is me and who I am. I’ve been reading “The Help” by Kathryn Sockett . She writes of the south, of traditions, ways of thinking, of how things were awhile ago and I’ve lived some of that life, but not all of it. For me the south is not as it is for some but that doesn’t mean I’m not southern. I may not be ‘traditionally’ southern but I claim the south none the less. And now I live in south Georgia, again. Yes, for the second time in my life. I’ve been here longer this time and the fact I’m watchin’ a lot of Andy Griffith and reading “The Help” is really influencin’ my language these days. I’m soundin’ a bit more southern and my husband is teasin’ me about it. I just tease right back and keep dropin’ my “g’s”, especially when that tell-tale breeze flounces in through the window I can now keep open for awhile and announces yet again the coolness of harvesting time, the magical change upon the land, in the air. I can’t help but close my eyes and float away on the emotion the words and music evoke…

 In Georgia nights are softer than a whisper
Beneath a quilt somebody's mother made by hand
With the farmland like a tapestry passed down through generations
And the peach trees stitched across the land
There'll be cider up near Helen off the roadside
And boiled peanuts in a bag to warm your fingers
And the smoke from the chimneys meets its maker in the sky
With a song that winter wrote whose melody lingers

I know it sounds strange to feel this way in the fall. I feel the same way in the springtime when the airs starts to murmur with warmth. It sounds backwards but it isn’t. The song evokes the feeling of springtime, of fall, of change; of awareness of the earth and its rhythms no matter if it’s that first blush of warmth or first tendril of coolness, the song speaks to it all for me, takes me home, takes me where I want to be, in the southland…

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