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Southern Swamps

These days. Been thinking of Daddy's boat headed slowly up the creek. Gators sunning on the banks. Box turtles lined up on a log. Orchids growing wild. The kind of swamps I grew up on and around. A land caught between being one thing and another and becoming its own beautiful, exotic thing. Like chapters in our lives that are more transition than not. The ones where you know this is a process, that you are traversing one place and moving into another. Be the locale in your heart or in your mind or the dirt beneath your feet. My Daddy would skull that boat up the creek in pitch-black dark and know by the cast of the moonlight through the big, old cypress trees exactly where we were. He knew how to slide silently between logs right into a blue spring that bubbled up wild and undiscovered with fresh water you could scoop up and drink. How no matter the vastness of the swamps or how a man could get lost and turned around, he always knew the way home. I think about this on days where I am feeling my way between breaths. When I feel caught in a land that is not where I once was, or one where I'll be. I like to think that there is an imprint from my people that runs through my veins the way it did theirs. The way that they traveled through unknown spaces, learning the lay of the land. Maneuvered through hard times and heartbreaks with a quiet dignity. Danced and laughed through the good times with pure joy. I hope that strength runs through them to me. That no matter where I am I can close my eyes and take a breath, listen to the sounds in the darkness, gage the lay of the land, the shadows cast by stars on the water, and that by some great grace, one step at a time, I'll find my way to the place I'm meant to be.

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