Saturday, September 13, 2014

Southern for Ten Days

Summer vacation is officially over and school started 2 weeks ago; thus my vacation is also over. Looking forward to next June already. After spending 10 days in boiling Georgia temperatures, the same greeted me on my return to Philly. On our family road trip to Georgia I pondered in my mind, what is the southern experience?  What would it be like to live here? Visiting Georgia was sad without my mom being there. The house is there but she is not. When we arrived, we pulled up into the drive way of my Aunt and Uncle's house. We were warmly greeted. I walked across to mom's house and walked around the house in amazement. She didn't open the door. I was horrified. This is why I didn't want to visit this summer. When we finished our visit we went to moms. Everything was just as she left it. Everything is a reflection of her. I walked around touching items, memories of things she had touched. Sitting where she used to sit. Preparing breakfast as she had done. I some how found comfort in this. My sister and I debated who was going to sleep in her bed. I gave in. 

Back to the southern experience. As always, I am soothed by my first glance of tall pines flashing by the car window. I'm not sure in which state I first noticed pine trees. I think Virginia.They may not be native to southern states but in the north, fields of pines aren't a common sight in the city maybe in suburban areas and the mountains. A favorite of mine but maybe not for others is, stopping at rest areas and purchasing news papers, and looking at how food items change. Pork rinds, boiled peanuts, and a assorted variety of distinctly southern products greet you. South of the Boarder is famous for trinkets and fireworks. As a child it was the high point of my vacation to stop there and buy trinkets. Now, the high point is the restroom.

Fields of crops, tobacco, corn, soybeans, and cotton, still awaiting harvest line the interstate. I'm still amazed that cotton comes from a plant. It's fluffy white heads lined fields. Once picked by people, now harvested by machines. The red clay of Georgia. Moss flowing from generation old trees, houses with tin roofs. Old plantations and estates surrounded by gates with winding road that lead to their entrance. The vibe is just different. More relaxed, quiet, some how gentler. A different type of lifestyle. Could this be for me? This is the state from which came my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, grandfather, great great grandmother and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Many still live in Georgia. I had visions of living here this time last year. What a difference a year can make. So much has changed in my life since last August. Reading books on grief talked about how family dynamics can change with a death. This is so correct. Yes, I'm rambling. That's okay. That's the joy of writing. It's your own expression. Some enjoy it, some may not. Of course I can't go to Georgia and not buy plants and bulbs. It's bulb planting time. I will always talk about my mother, until we meet again. It's her image I see when I look in the mirror, her voice I hear in mine when I speak. She is one of the last thoughts I think of at night before sweet sleep. I think, if she knew what the small plants look like I took from her kitchen window, what would she say? They look awful at my house. I laugh because she knows how plants can be and that some die and some thrive. She knows I love plants and flowers, a gift form her.

After we raked this and more for hours the man who takes care of the yard came and in a matter of minutes was done. We picked pine cones and twigs that could have been picked up with his equipment. It was good exercise for us. I forgot to bring back my pine cones with the exception of three I put in my handbag. They will be there when I go back.
Magnolia already bloomed.
Mom's not hear to tend to her plants and it shows. Broke my heart.

The fruit from the palm tree. I'm told that people make jelly with them. The squirrels love them.
I can never take enough pictures of nature, the sky, trees, and of course plants and flowers.

Roots of the live oak. Normally covered in tree fern. It's still there but dry from little rain.

Even with all the heat the moss and tradescantia are doing well. My mother started the tradescantia on the oak.

Mums for the yard that will hopefully naturalize and come back each year. 
Japanese Pencil Holly. So much more inexpensive than at home.
Russian Sage
Jasmine is larger this year.
Blue hydrangea already bloomed. Would have loved to see them when they first bloom pale blue.
Sago Palm
The fig tree is unbelievably larger than last summer.
Mom's lemon tree that had never yielded fruit did this summer. The lime/tangerine tree had fruit also.
I forgot to take the bulbs from these.

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