“A forest season
A boundless palace
From a wilderness to a State
From unknown lands to chartered streets
Deer trail becomes Indian trail becomes county road.

In the beginning, it was vast and wild.
It was the entire middle south.
It was bound in the east by the Savannah River
and in the west by the Mississippi.
And, in between, a new world.
A world of river, tribe and beast.

There was a small colony at the mouth of a river.
The rest was Indian land, parts unknown and unmapped.
This land was the mother of Alabama and Mississippi.
This was the state of Georgia –
a shrunken seed, a prayer,
a keystone in the southern states.

From east to west,
Indian land became English land
and English land became American.
The Creek were pushed out;
The Cherokee pressed into a corner.
Square mile by square mile,
square foot by square foot,
and they were gone.

From east to west,
the land was made into counties and towns.
An alliance of equal kingdoms,
none claiming precedence over another.
Deer trail becomes Indian trail
becomes county road.”


I’ve fallen asleep to this oddly hypnotic little film more times than I can count. It was produced over 11 years by a random fellow in middle Georgia, Robert Persons, who had no film background and has never made anything before or since. I recently had the opportunity to thank him for this weirdly beautiful 72-minute incantation about histories lost, and he sent me a package with just about one of everything from their promo materials. Included were two nicely-executed letterpress volumes, one of the full transcript of the film and one of notes from its production. The paper wrapping smelled softly of pipe smoke. Some days the world feels just a bit smaller than others.


“The one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body.” — Cormac McCarthy, The Road


Remind me again why we’re here. That the world owes none of us anything so I breathe in the way you felt in the shower, what it’s like to miss and be missed, the pull of watching your plane fly to a distant continent for the last time. I remember the songs you played and dinner you cooked as I lay surgically blinded in a dark room, and the way you pulled the curtains all those years ago as the afternoon storms rolled in and the pain medication had me hallucinating that the house was definitely and voraciously on fire.

Somewhere there’s a huge black widow crawling down the wall beside you while you tell that long story again, and I only bat my eyelashes asking you to *come sit next to me, sugar* and it’s only a split second that you’re in my arms before you see it and start shaking all over. You hate spiders. You thanked me.

I stay up late tracing my collarbone with the feel of your exhale, when we were new and always late for work and searching for our clothes in the blast radius of our bed. I reach into my pocket and touch the curve of a long-gone toy pony, the one I played with while you sold plasma so I could buy lunch at school. I know you stayed with me all those nights. I remember you combing my hair when you no longer knew who I was. And when you left, I know it was the kindest thing you knew to do at the time.

Thank you for teaching me to love so unconditionally, through all the names we graft onto these things as if we could ever define their tides. Thank you for holding my heart so patiently and well, until the day I realized it was never taken by you at all. It was freely given by me.

Thank you for all this and more. Thank you for all this, despite. Thank you for yes, Thank you for now, And thank you for everything yet to come.