Saturday, February 16, 2008

This little corner of Virginia

A long time ago, a bunch of people settled in Southern Tidewater--no clue why. It's humid and flat like some kind of underdone crepe. The biggest hill we have is about twenty feet, and it's considered a monster. For the longest time, I didn't even know Virginia had mountains. Southern Tidewater is bordered on three sides by water, and there are three tunnels connecting us to the rest of the state. One overland highway--but it takes forever to make the big loop over to I-95.

In case of a terrorist attack or a major hurricane--we're all gonna die.

Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet, put his research institute here. He said it was the safest place on the planet. He also said the west coast would drop into the sea and a nuke would destroy DC in 2025, but that's a long way off.

When the US government laid down the state lines, they cut through the northern half of a peninsula known as Knott's Island. There's a long causeway running from VA through this swamp, huge cattails, snakes bigger'n your thigh (LOTS of them) rednecks with double first names, all driving around in bubble-gum pickups with bungee cords holding on their bumpers, and the confederate flag perched on the cab with a real damned flagpole. My husband had a lot of friends out there. They still trap and fish, possums (otherwise known as swamp rabbit) ducks by the gazillion, crabs and oysters and shrimp.

Back when my husband laid cable, he was digging in Knott's Island and hit a trash midden, one of those antiquey rubbish dumps where the settlers used to throw their stuff. He found this old lucifer box, all hand tooled copper with a heron done in raised metalwork. I still have it on my wardrobe. Virginia is funny that way. There's stuff in the ground. So many people have come before us. When they built the last mall down in Norfolk, they kept finding gold coins from the revolutionary period.

Much of Northeastern North Carolina is peat bog.

Same kind of peat bog that did all those "peat people" over in Europe. One day they'll find a bunch of Native American's preserved in the tannin and someone will write a book. Whenever we get a lightning storm, the peat fires don't go out until it rains again. A big blanket of yellow smoke rolls into VA, smelling like a pot of water that someone forgot to take off, and looking like the inside of a nicotine cloud. No pictures, guess it's just something that happens.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Very cool post. Thanks Jodi.

Unhinged said...

Wow, you're a fount of knowledge there. Very interesting, too. I liked looking at the photo of a peat bog. Never knew what one looked like (um, creepy).

So, Edgar Cayce? Did he happen to mention WHEN the west coast was going to drop into the sea? Maybe I'll be moving sooner than I thought...

Jeanna said...

Lovely. This is twice today I've had to sneak a look at a map. I really do enjoy your prose.

jodi said...

Jeanna, you're the one who made me write about Moyock and the Great Dismal, lol. It's just something that happens. I kept smelling burning recently and thinking, "damn, what the hell?" and looking around for a pot. Takes awhile to go, "oh yeah. it's just North Carolina on fire again..."

I don't know, Unhingey. I'm kinda hoping it's not anytime soon, since I'm moving out there. :)

Alice Audrey said...

I'm surprised NC goes up in smoke this time of year. We go up in August with some slop over in July and September, but it's all wood smoke of the pine verity. Everything smells like a campfire.