“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.