What This Is and What It Could Be

by Joe Thomas

All through my lifetime, I have been drawn to the woods. Despite my upbringing in urban Atlanta, I have felt at home among the trees, from playing games along Nancy Creek in Buckhead to the forests and ridges of Northeast Georgia to the acres and acres of land at Berry College, on to the miles of Broad River near Athens, shaded by Georgia oaks and pines. While there are beautiful places all over the country, there is something magical about a southern forest in the summertime, as the sun beams through the syrup-thick air and then slowly slides toward the horizon, as the crickets and cicadas get louder and louder, insisting their way into conversations as if the land itself was demanding attention. This space is my attempt to spread my love of my home, to spread joy, and thought, and sometimes awareness, but mainly to share my appreciation for the places which have given me so much. I write with the ghosts of Faulkner and Bartram peering over my shoulder. May my words honor the legacies of theirs.