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It was early January in Orlando, and I’d just had my heart broken. I stood barefoot on my driveway in the wake of that miserable phone call, one in which a woman I was sleeping with told me that we’d only ever been friends, and tried to avoid an angry trail of fire ants.
Drive north on Money Road out of Greenwood, Mississippi, and the town gives way in a hurry to cotton and corn, an occasional house set back from the road.
When I was a kid, one of the few salves for the end of the summer and the beginning of another long school year was the St. Tammany Parish Fair in Covington, Louisiana. There was always that sense of anticipation and excitement as the weather cooled and eased into fall, the days growing shorter, a feeling that things were changing.
I first visited Ship Island as a child with my family, taking the hour-long ferry out of Gulfport. It is the only barrier island off the coast of Mississippi with ferry access, the only one you can get to if you don’t have your own boat.
I stumbled onto Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach for the first time nearly a decade ago. This was, not coincidentally, the same week that a spider wrote me a note.
"On that night, under that starlit sky, the sound of the water lapping against the dock, I felt a prescient sense of peace."
I was nineteen the first time I ever drove over the drawbridge into Beaufort, North Carolina. Good Southern girl that I was, I had arrived for a debutante party. One look, and I was absolutely smitten.
Not long after I was born, my grandfather bought a farm near La Grange, Tennessee.
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