I run across the blistering highway into a decaying graveyard in my candy-cane sundress and flip flops. This poor man’s cemetery is a hot mess: all dappling light, buzzing wildlife and crumbling stone, overgrown with massive, live oaks, dripping with Spanish moss, teetering over the edge of the marshlands. Bone deep in the American South.
Writers breed here, and no wonder. This part of the world makes me half-crazy with the beauty of its vistas, the treachery of its history, and the swirling vernacular of its people, sweltering charm.
Flashes of the buried, I dance with the dead. Vultures, with aching squalor and wanton desire cry.
My eyes and camera swoop up, my back arches and my heels sink into the composting earth.
Be careful, B, we’re far from home, I hear a low voice. My husband always has my back, but I studiously avoid reason when it doesn’t suit the story and it doesn’t suit in this swampy catacomb of drama.
The vultures converge on the branches of a sky-scraping tree.
I wait for their take off, my burning skin shrouded in sweat.
My camera films patiently.
There is a wanton gust of wind.
Tall grass tickles the soles and ankles of my giddy feet.
I stand my ground for the money shot, ignore the creeping feeling and yoga-breathe.
The itch is wild, rushing up my shins and calves, interfering in this living dream.
In the land of the dead, it must be a ghost, I think.
I look down.
Red ants are crawling all over my legs, and they are pissed.
The camera drops, the vultures fly and I lose the shot. I am standing on their hill.
Shoo! Ants! Grab the camera, point up and try and try again. Drunk on teeming life, I reel.
On the Road, Tripping is the first in a series of posts about a rocking road-trip I just took with my in-house composer, from Montreal to Miami Beach. A video, a real film, looks like it’s in the works. Love is an open road.
GOOD NEWS FLASH: Laying the groundwork for an enduring movement, the struggle continues. No one said it was going to be easy.
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