The snail garden’s having most unusual weather today–overcast and humid, reminding me of the American South. So here are my postcards from that beautiful and complex region.
From Mama Snail at the end of a long book tour:
A Comparison by John Farrar
Apple blossoms look like snow,
They’re different, though.
Snow falls softly, but it brings
Sleighs and bells, forts and fights,
But apple blossoms when they go,
White and slow,
Quiet all the orchard space,
Till the place
Hushed with falling sweetness seems
Filled with dreams.
Caption: Stone Mountain, the largest exposed mountain the world with 583 acres of exposed granite, is a tribute to American history and a monument to the Confederacy. The Memorial Carving measures 90 feet by 190 feet and depicts three Southern heroes of the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
The South’s struggle for modern identity is summed up in this postcard. The region has a lot of history and a passion for preservation, but that history poses a great difficulty in terms of tourism because it generally speaks very negatively of the region, or turns a blind eye. The postcard’s caption tries to be neutral– ironically calling this “monument to the Confederacy” a “tribute to American history” as well–and mostly focuses on Stone Mountain’s physical attributes, but it’s all undone at the end simply with the word “heroes.” It ultimately kisses up to those still clinging to some romanticized notion of the Confederacy.
The bas-relief was conceived by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the 1910’s, and in 1915, the Ku Klux Klan re-formed at Stone Mountain with a cross-burning ceremony. The Klan continued to meet there until the state purchased the mountain in 1958. It is no wonder, therefore, that Stone Mountain was a frightening symbol of Jim Crow by the time Martin Luther King Jr. mentioned it in his speech at the March on Washington:
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
What’s special about this photograph is it captures Faulkner in his element. He was most at peace on his family land in Mississippi where he could drink and write unbothered in the company of his beloved dogs. Loathing to leave such comfort, he nearly bypassed the trip to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize.