The south is condemned to intense hot or cold. We are a confused, unsettled and mischievous people. But, we are a people. That has been no easy chore.
Each day we are more, growing numbers and expense. Our cities expand like suburbs, spread out in commercial franchises. But not our farms. Jaggedly cut chunks of familial property. These inherited spaces are cleaved into twos, threes, fours before they can climb up to safer rungs on the generational ladder. Time is still telling us that story. Slowly.
A home is not a house, or an apartment, or a single room in long knotted strings of lonely spaces. Only because one can not be sustained by, inside, closed off in a box. It takes land to make a long-term stand. And these fertile eastern parcels are shrinking. Split yearly into further isolated, lower taxed pieces. Acres broken up again and again for each successive litter.
The piedmont region of North Carolina is an easy place to fall madly in love with. The extreme summers are at least filtered through foliage choked heights of hardwood and pines. That winter shiver is not known to last long, though perhaps a little longer than this most recent confused season.
The real traumatic, dangerous weather is within the southerner. Having gained and lost more in cultural transition than almost any other mass, vague, generic region of this American nation. Which is good, for the most part. Change has benefited us. Because for too long the southern dream had become how to leave the old family farm far behind.
And I say, let us wake up from such escapist dreams. It is time. We can not go back to the way things were years ago, but that does not mean we can not go home. And why wouldn’t we? Lucky for southerners, we don’t have to go too far to find a place as hot and cold as we are.