Mile 446 on Lower Mississippi, two bends north of Vicksburg – December 1, 2012
I can feel the south now, the warm south, floating in on a southern breeze. I flinched when the moving air first touched my skin. Instinct. I thought it would bite.
For so long now every gust, every puff has had teeth that found each bit of skin, cut through clothing, tore away heat, left my hands numb and curled, my body shivering, my spirit crumpled. But not this one, this gentle southern breeze, this was different.
I flinched and it caressed, warm and comforting, kissing my face, soaking into my skin. This was pirates and sand castles, palm trees and seashells. It felt like the soft pink clouds of sunset, the ones that look like cotton candy.
“You’re almost there,” it said. “The ocean, the salt water, the coast, it is all so close.