Tuesday, July 25, 2006

That Good, Red Earth

Cheryl (www.lifeismadeof.blogspot.com) left the most beautiful tribute to her home of Arkansas while commenting on my "Priceless" post. She shared how it felt to cross the state line and come home. It does just make you feel good.

As I read her comment, I thought about the many times I have crossed the line into Georgia after living away for so long. I knew exactly how Cheryl felt. I remember many moments crossing the state line. I can see it in my mind- crossing a bridge across the Chattahoochee River, looking down at the river, I think about how the water may be a little low because there hasn't been much rain, or maybe the water is high because of flooding. I can hear the rhythmic sound of the car crossing the bridge beneath, and then the smooth asphalt. There's the sign, "Welcome to Georgia!" I lean forward to be the first one in Georgia and I smile.

There is a really sweet feeling that comes over me when I am home, not just home where I grew up, but "home home"- anywhere in Georgia. I have some of the best memories of Southeast Georgia near the Okefenokee Swamp visiting with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all still live in that area. Many childhood memories are surrounded by tall, thin pine trees, saw palmettos, moss covered Live Oaks, and dark, murky swamp water.

I grew up in Southwest Georgia playing in red clay. It is so cliche' for a Southern girl to quote Gone With The Wind, but there is a scene when Scarlett picks up that red clay and throws it into the face of a former employee. She tells him, "That is the only part of Tara you will evah have!" There is something special about land, the actual dirt of the earth that makes you feel like you are home. After all, roots plant firmly in good earth.

My home is truly where my own family is now. But, one day I want my daughter to know what it means to own a piece of land, real land, not a patio home, or 1/4 of an acre with a privacy fence surrounding it. Real land with real dirt and real trees. You know, the trees you can climb on or hang a tire swing from. The trees that don't budge in the strongest wind. Trees that have seen generations of freckled faced kids. That is what I wish for her.

I hope that she will appreciate what it means to own the dirt beneath you, to respect the earth God made, and to cherish it deeply. To know the feeling of crossing the bridge into a place she will call home, then to lean into it, and smile


Brenda said...

I had to check out Cheryl's comment then go visit her blog, and I left her quite a long comment. I'll try not to HOG your space. I'm from Arkansas, born and raised there, and relocated to Georgia 2 years ago, so I consider both home. I thought I'd be homesick for Arkansas, but I don't really miss it at all, and when I go visit, even though it's where I spent the majority of my life, I always look forward to coming back home to Georgia. Maybe that's because this is where God wants me for now. It does feel good to be where you belong. Home.

As good as that feels, can you imagine how wonderful it will be when we finally get to see our real home? Oh glorious day!

Susanne said...

I have never lived anywhere but the place I am in now. I've even stayed in the same city within that province, except for one month when I did some college stuff in another city, but I don't think that really counts. But I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Nancy said...

The one regret I have for my children growing up in a military family is that they won't have that sense of HOME, permanent and waiting for their return. I think, in part, this is what attracted my husband to me. When we got engaged, he was invited hunting, fishing, skiing, peanut picking, to feed the cows and have a fish fry, etc., etc. I haven't lived in my hometown for twenty years, but if I moved back tomorrow, it would almost be like I never left. (If I could keep my mouth shut about all we've done and seen.) After experiencing both, our kids love the simple pleasures of small town life and the excitement of living in the city like we do now, but their earthly HOME is one borrowed from our relatives, not one they've grown into.

Cheryl said...

Had to come check out your post about "That Good, Red Earth". Enjoyed your blogs and made me think about how so few people these days take the time to realize there is even real dirt under their feet. We are such a busy society and take the crops of the land for granted. I yearn for a more simpler life myself.