When I drive back home to Orangeburg, I exit I-26 as soon as possible. On US 21, passing the winter fields, racing down the giant hill at Beaver Creek, and seeing the cross of St. Matthews Methodist in the distance, something happens to me–my grip on the steering wheel begins to ease while my mind begins to race.
This road is the route to my homeplace, the route to my family, my history. I think of that Pat Conroy line, “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” My family has been in this place for centuries so this geography is, in a very real sense, my anchorage.
But it’s still the South, my South, and that South is always already wrapped up in a brutal history. It’s a messy wound.