Thursday, June 28, 2012

Southern Life

I feel as if I'm living in another country....when I think that, I wonder what would this place be like if we had let the South secede? Is it sacrilegious to say that out loud?

Anyway, at the great risk of sounding like I'm stereotyping, I'm going to make some observations. These are things I've observed.

1. I love Crepe Myrtle. It blooms brilliant pink on short bush-like trees everywhere here.

2. In Minnesota, you'd never walk through a big Methodist Church parking lot and find the African American groundskeeper singing the blues at the top of his voice as he swept the parking lot while parents traipsed through the parking lot dropping off toddlers at preschool.  I have to say I loved it. He was entirely un-self-conscious and he was singing his story, not a rehearsed chorus. I never heard the same line twice. I am only reporting what I saw and heard. I'm not trying to stereotype or be racist in any way. I just loved experiencing that. Another day when I brought Alec to "school," we stopped and had a nice conversation with the same man.  He wasn't in a singing mood that day, I guess.

3. I love bullfrogs. In spring, when I ride miles of Minnesota paved county roads, the wet ditches host dozens of often raucous frogs. But here, we walk every morning over a tiny waterway in the neighborhood, and daily a bullfrog sounds at least one loud note. I love how a bullfrog sounds like the plucked string of a bass viol.

4. I like tobacco fields. I don't like all that growing tobacco means in this country, and I don't like smoking, and I don't like the history of tobacco farms steeped in slave or indentured labor, but I love how tobacco fields look with their great broad green leaves stretching to the sky and spreading to fill the field.

5. I love cicadas. I know we have them in Minnesota, but here at night, they can be positively deafening, and in suburbia, it feels like I'm in a jungle! Many night birds join the chorus, too. Tonight Alec and Franklin the dog and I went for an evening walk before bathtime and bed. A single cicada sounded a long trill. Instantly, a chorus of them erupted, as if the first one had been the oboe tuning the orchestra and they ALL jumped in with their notes. It was astonishing.

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