I have a love/hate relationship with the South. I grew up here, so it feels like home and there is a warm comfort being here. Kinda like a soft, faded quilt wrapped around me on an autumn evening. And it has a certain beauty that can't be found elsewhere. But it has parts that make me cringe, and I don't fit in here... never have. But I believe it is where I'll be 'til my dying day. I don't like Coke or fried food or people waving the confederate flag, and since I'm not a Christian, the Bible Belt is way too tight for me. But I love okra and magnolias, going barefoot half of the year and the smell of the damp air in the Blue Ridge mountains. There is a certain rawness here I love, but sometimes that rawness can turn ugly. But it's home and like with most places, I take the good with the bad.
Mike and I spent two days last weekend in the Hiawassee area of north Georgia - right near the North Carolina border. We stumbled upon this insanely tumbled mess of a store that just demanded I take pictures. It was just too... quintessentially rural south... that part of the south that makes me wince. Here, you see the confederate flag flapping in the wind. Why? I don't know. It makes me squirm when I see it. It reminds me of a painful and ugly past that should be far removed from today.
To the right of this display was a dog lying next to a big, black smoking pot of boiling peanuts. He was sacked out livin' the life. As I approached him to take his picture, the store owner walked up and said, "That's Bark Obama. Since he is part white and part black, we decided it would be a good name for him." Sure enough, he was indeed black and white. And he didn't mind having his picture taken at all. Click on pictures to enlarge.
About the only things that didn't attack my senses at the store were these apples and pots placed amongst a huge smiling plastic pumpkin, gnomes and gargoyles. Tackiness and haphazard clutter abound in certain parts of the South.
About an hour later we were sitting on the deck of our cabin enjoying the view of Lake Chatuge and the mountains in the distance.
Out for a drive, we saw these loblolly pines.
And these chickens for sale...
I saw my dream truck at a little car show we stopped at to check out. Only I don't like low-riders... too impractical and way out balance if you ask me. Otherwise though, it's a cutie.
This street sign made me laugh...
But this sign annoyed me.
Below, the sun was setting on a small part of Lake Chatuge.
Mike and I went up to the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia with an elevation of 4,784 feet above sea level. You can see North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee from there. We enjoyed the view and breeze; it was quite a bit cooler than in Atlanta. It has the same year-round temperatures as Massachusetts! The view was a bit hazy, but we could see pretty far. Did you know that the Appalachian Mountains are said to be 230 million years older than the Rockies? And that they were once as tall and imposing as the Rockies are today?
Here is a picture of the path back down from the peak. It was late and we were the only people there, so it was a quiet, peaceful hike.
On the way back to our cabin, we spotted another cool truck, only this was was out of commission. What a shame.
And, that's it for now. We had a great time and I'll post more tomorrow.
"All I can say is that there's a sweetness here, a Southern sweetness, that makes sweet music... If I had to tell somebody who had never been to the South, who had never heard of soul music, what it was, I'd just have to tell him that it's music from the heart, from the pulse, from the innermost feeling. That's my soul; that's how I sing. And that's the South."
- Al Green