I find that journeys like these can be almost ceremonial. The rituals of homecoming, the generation of our family or ancestors, and the acceptance of our own stage of life help us find meaning and purpose in the presence. But it’s always the warmth that I welcome here, carried on the breeze along with the scent of sweet potato pie or the ease of a egret lifting off from a pond, lake, or field beside the grazing cows.
Along the way, Cherie and I will travel to the places where I’ve lived. We’ll wind past Augusta and weave through some small towns I lived around. Like Louisville, an early capitol of colonial Georgia, Wadley, Bartow, and Swainsboro all part of the South that was General Sherman’s path he burned through over 150 years. There are many more that still stand due to All the people’s efforts to survive. Then heading closer to Savannah to Statesboro, still known here and there for its quaint Main Street district. Cherie will be excellent companion on this journey. She is “my people,” too.
The places along this long and winding road cut from red clay and sweat are among those which shaped my character. Not all of them were easy. The people here claimed me as one of their own. They did the same for others, linking us one to the other in a long lineage of spiritual connection and community that was, to all intents and purposes, color blind.
That part was a rare gift in the deep South of those days.
When I stop the car and revisit those times, those memories, a younger version of myself seems to watch just beneath the treeline of orderly pines. Should we ever compare notes, she would certainly ponder the responsibilities of both freedom and limitation through the lens of her youth. Sunlight, bright like a smile, lights the distance between the young woman from the past and the wisening woman I am today.
Lately, I sometimes consider the same questions through the lens of my life experiences and lengthening shadow of years. May all the ages of ourselves come together into the wisdom that is ours this Samhain-tide.