southern moss: a rambling ode to the south.

i know it’s technically called “spanish moss”, but like other things we Southerners identify as our own, i call it what i want: “southern moss.” there is something truly magical about a big ol’ beautiful oak tree covered in long-hanging moss. it’s one of those images that will always and forever remind me of the best parts of being from the south. because there are good parts, ya know. even being from Florida. i know, i’m pushing it, but just rock with me…

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(in my mind, this street leads to my beautiful home, wrapped in oversized porches, situated on many acres in Savannah or somewhere equally magical. in this fantasy, we also have grocery delivery and a full-time driver.)

we’re visiting my family in Florida. it’s the last stretch of our gypsy summer before returning to LA to prepare for baby smith. there’s a calm that comes over me when i cross that mason dixon line. strange, right? a progressive brown girl like myself, loving the sometimes not-so-progressive south. but i just do. i refuse to live here again. it’s not personal, i’ve just moved on, but oh, how i love to visit. aside from some concentrated time with my momma and grandma, everything from the respecting of elders to the general life pace to that accent my husband can’t understand…there’s no place like home.

i think my more recent appreciation for my home region has a lot to do with the traveling i’ve done and the family i’m creating. i’ve lived in New York and i now live in LA and i have developed a deep longing appreciation for some of the more traditional value systems i was surrounded by growing up. i know it has it’s thorns. i’m well aware of the ugly truths that surround the south and i know it’s been the capital of crazy as of late, but there are some things it consistently gets right. among other traits, the idea that family, whether born or bred, is always and forever #1, a specific and respectful moral code is essential, and the simple things and moments of life are the most fulfilling. i must admit, while i love California – i mean, the weather alone is the stuff dreams are made of – Los Angeles can be a breeding ground for the superficial, opportunistic, and all-around gross. so being someone who can be energetically sensitive, this can make for a tough time.  i’m dealing, but it’s so nice to get away and breathe in a bit of um…clearer air.

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so, to my southern home (yes, Florida counts: “the more north you go the more southern it gets”), i am grateful to you and the spirit you carry. i am grateful to the people and times that came before me, allowing me the freedom to enjoy this place the way i do. i am grateful for your chivalrous ways, your honorable beliefs and your respectable traditions. things that are so deeply instilled in me and compliment my favorite parts of myself. i love your sweet tea, the perfectly clear starry summer nights, your dirty hands and strong souls, your cricket lullabies, your freshly cut grass on my bare feet, and man oh man, do i love that drawl in the way you speak. i can’t wait to bring my son here and watch him run free in a big field of unkept grass or listen to the stories of his great grandma or climb his first moss-covered oak.

and if he refuses – citing too many mosquitoes or humidity complications – first i’ll blame his father. then i’ll just make him watch The Color Purple, Steel Magnolias, and Fried Green Tomatoes. #momoftheyear

happy 4th of july, y’all!!

 

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