After Brody jumps in the back seat, over the console and arm rest, and onto the front seat, I settle in behind the wheel of my car, an SUV, new enough that it shouldn’t be used for gallivanting through the countryside, down dirt roads, into the woods with low-hanging limbs and brush growing over dirt paths, but it’s the only vehicle I have on this particular day. It will have to do. I adjust a few nobs on the dashboard and the folksy sound of Lynn Miles fills the air.
Tapping out the rhythm of the music on the steering wheel, I leave Tifton. The South has opened up to Spring, and the feeling of rebirth has settled in my joints, in my heart, soaked through all my senses, and intoxicated me. I sip from the season like it’s a mason jar filled with peach moonshine. Brody sticks his head out the window, and I turn the music up loud. Tongue hanging red and limp from his mouth, his body shaking with excitement as he pants, my dog delights in this ride that takes us into the boonies. He is my buddy.
I park near the Willacoochee River, not far from a country church, behind some of my kin’s land, a place where my family went for picnics and swims in the 1960s, a place where we used to fish, a land and river I instinctively know through faded memories, scents, sounds, and stories told to me by my older brother and sister.
Brody leaps from the car and in an instant goes to chasing smells. I watch him go, then I walk to the water’s edge, crouch down, dip my hand in the dark river broth, whispering to reflections, fishing for memories. If not for the sounds Brody makes, I would be knee-deep in silence. The land and water change with each slant of light. Everything here pulses with beauty. The river and the trees are one. I see life reflected in the water, trees dripping with green, dripping with birds, dripping with my distorted face. April has settled over this place and colored it in a thousand shades of green. It is as though Monet and van Gogh have been painting all winter for this one day. Later, I will go home, pull out my oil paints, and try to capture some of these magnificent greens on my pallet. But Nature is always the best artist. No human can compete.
I come here for the beauty. I come to soak myself in memories before they evaporate, so l can write about the days of my childhood and let my children hold those memories in their hands. I come to calm this knot in my stomach that has entangled me in doubts about Dogwood Blues, my first novel. I come here to be nothing more than a soft shadow among a deep and wide river of solitude.
Written by Brenda Sutton Rose
|Brody waits in the car for me to open the door and let him out.|
DOGWOOD BLUES on Amazon
DOGWOOD BLUES on Barnes & Noble
Brenda Sutton Rose
Nominated for a Georgia Author of the Year for First Novel
Nominated for a Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction
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