Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Heart of Dixie

Abandoned Building, Rural Alabama

I love taking long drives out in the rural Alabama countryside, past cotton fields and pecan groves and through places where the whole town smells like peanuts. I love the perfect spring and fall days, the short winters and the cicada-tree frog-cricket music of hot summer evenings. I love watching huge banks of bright clouds drifting lazily through white-blue skies and I love seeing the steam rise off the pavement after a summer thunderstorm. I love the sound of the wind in the pines. I love standing barefoot in the grass and looking up at Southern skies filled with millions of stars on clear nights.  I love lying in my bed at night listening to a mockingbird in a nearby tree sing for twenty minutes without ever repeating the same song. I love the flowers--azaleas, hydrangeas, magnolias, gardenias, dogwoods, red-buds. I love Southern cooking (like the fried green tomatoes I made for dinner a couple of days ago) and Southern music (just discovered a band called Alabama Shakes. Great music). I love that my boys are growing up learning to be Southern gentlemen--saying "yes sir" and "yes ma'am". I love so many things about living here. Mostly though I love the good people I have met here--the down-to-earth real people; "black and white black white black people" with "with white hands and black hands and brown and yellow hands." Not all of us were born or raised here but here we are. It is a beautiful thing.

Today's Poem:

Daybreak in Alabama by Langston Hughes

When I get to be a composer
I'm gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I'm gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew.
I'm gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
And big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I'm gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
And touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.

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