I’m from accents so thick you could cut them from a knife, from yellow jessamine and palmettos — not palms. I’m from textile factories that eventually, jauntily became apartments and museums.
I’m from the cut-shell slices in your feet if you make the mistake of stepping into a marsh. I’m from secret shrimp burger recipes and Gullah and the smell of the Low Country.
And then I found mountains and rivers and streams and creeks. I found the silence of a nighttime snow.
I found a public university system you wouldn’t believe, bell towers against blue sky and graveyards full of Tar Heels dead. I found the hulls and shells of furniture manufacturing, too sad and too soon to be renovated.
I found the long, slow stretch of Piedmont vowels and pieces of names so beautiful they broke my heart, Ashe and Cajah and Banner and Raleigh.
The rest is here. I’m having a lot of fun in Georgia, but I wouldn’t say I’ve learned to love it this way yet.