Moonlight and magnolias: a culture, molded/fictionalized
A few years ago, some friends and I went camping in North Georgia near the mountains. My friend and I were riding in the bed of a pick-up truck while another was driving us back to our campsite. We were drifting down a gravel road that hugged the Tallulah River while Sol, a previous partner of mine, was fishing further down the river. No one usually uses the road, but a truck passed us by. Unlike the baby blue Chevy we rode in, this one flew two rebel flags blowing in the back. It doubled back a few times. Whenever the truck passed, I didn’t feel sick, I felt something different? Later that night, I was telling Sol about what we saw, and asked if he saw the truck while he was fishing—he did. We spend the rest of the night talking about how easy it is to feel like the place where you grew up, which has something (ownership/familiarity?), could become a stranger to you.
The area surrounding Tallulah River is a place outside of the suburban Georgia. I’m used to it— it’s the kind of Southern landscape I sometimes get too nostalgic about.
When you enter, you pass designated campsites provided by the national parks, but the further back you drive, the wilder it gets. Campsites turn into spaces passed from person to person. The dams you and your dad built in the river are still there 15 years later.
The next day we drive through some back-road trails in the mountains. I can still feel the laughter, the bucking, rocking, shaking kind of resistance trying to force my car, and in turn myself, over those hills.
(If ownership comes from how much land you cross, I must own the whole state.)
“I have no idea who will be or what it may be like on the
other side, though I believe there are people there.
They always lived there. There are songs they
If we, clambering up out of the abyss, ask questions of
them, they won’t draw maps, alleging utter inability;
but they might point.
One of them might point in the direction of Arlington, Texas.
I live there, she says, see how beautiful it is!”