But when a southern anthem rings,
she will buckle to that sound.
When that southern anthem sings,
it will lay her burdens down.
-Iron & Wine
It is difficult to believe that the Deep South is part of the same country I have called home for most of my life. Sure, there are Home Depots and Wal-Marts and McDonald’s and Starbucks, but the Gulf Coast feels so… foreign. So strange. So much different than the world I inhabit in the Southwest, or that in which I was raised in Oregon. I feel my hackles raise and I am on edge, like I am when traversing foreign countries, in anticipation of the inevitable swindler, hustler, or criminal waiting for opportunity. I feel entirely out of place here; a feeling not unwelcome.
From Savannah, I drove straight around Jacksonville and began my trek through northern Florida. I joined Interstate 10 on the beginnings of its long journey to the Pacific, but then our paths diverged as I took a detour through the piney woods. I find the most interesting sights, people, and places are to be found away from the interstates and their thundering semi trucks, long haul pit stops, and endless fast food establishments. Plus, I wanted to avoid at all costs traffic in any major city, and I was rapidly approaching Tallahassee. So off I went, toward St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf Coast. Continue reading