19 April 2006

I woke up in the middle of August

We left Virginia in the dark, driving between quiet hills, sleeping with jackets on and the windows closed because the wind still whips hard and cold across the corn fields, cutting the glittering lake into a hundred pieces, blowing my skirt when I come out of chapel or out of class or walk to lunch, reminding me that I have elbows and knees and knuckles and cold fingertips. But I slept while Eva drove and didn't wake up until midsummer--Down, further, through the hills, under the hills, along the coast, between Carolina Pines and then Georgia Oaks, growing in the red clay, under the palms and magnolias, drooping under Spanish Moss. Full leafed, verdant, Florida. It will all be brown dust by true August, but it looked like everything I know of deep summer.

We took turns driving and sleeping. Read All the Kings Men when we got stuck in traffic. Warren's south unfolded from the pages, all around us. When we took a side road to find a post office, I was searching the sidewalk for Haze and his hideous hat, gazing down backwards wondering if the Misfit was positioned just out of sight in his black hearse. Because it was the real south, and Flannery O'Connor seemed obvious, not strange or violent or improbable. While Amy filled out her tax form on a small-town curb, Eva and I talked to an old man whose shop advertised "Dead People's Things For Sale."

And then on, to our own island, where we spent a couple days walking the beach and collecting sand dollars and climbing dunes and spreading sleeping bags on very hard earth beneath the Live Oaks and Cedars and Palms at our campsite.

And then to Daytona Beach... which was too much latex for any of us.

8 comments:

Sarah said...

i miss the south. this piece of windy northern soil is too different and too cold.

next time you drive through south carolina - TELL ME!!

Eva said...

I love your description of our lives then. I would do it again in an instant! Driving through the mountains and reading Warren and eating rice cakes was good for my soul. So were the ocean and the grassy dunes and the magnolias. When we grow up, let's run away to Fernandina.

Allie said...

too much latex? please elaborate.

Hannah said...

rubber people rubber clothes rubber hotels --- the chewing-gum version of the ocean side town...

j truitt said...

i still don't get it.

j truitt said...

Eva:

Fernandina? As in Amelia Island?

naomi said...

i'm sorry about the ubiquitous strip clubs. ;)

naomi said...

wrong.:P