Appearances Are Deceiving



A rocky outcropping of beach, the sun is shining and it’s oddly silent. Sitting in Charleston Harbor this little island  looks peaceful until you take a broader view and see the remains of the fort. Until you wander the ghostly maze  of ruins and can almost hear the voices and booms of cannons. Until you realize this is the site of the opening act of the bloodiest , most confusing time in our country’s history, The Civil War. This is Fort Sumter. Growing up in the north and living in the south, I have come to hear so many personal reactions to the war. Currently in Memphis, they are actively working to rename parks that honored Confederate generals. At reenactments at Shiloh, the Star-Spangled Banner isn’t heard, but The Bonnie Blue Flag and Dixie are sung lustily. Both events are unsettling. My hope is that the serenity of this small sunlit beach will spread to others , that peace rather than conflict will finally prevail, and the “War”  will have truly ended 148 years later.


About unsouthernbelle

I am a native New Yorker , transplanted to Memphis, who is a photographer, teacher, and wanderer. I am inspired by the beauty and stories that resonate from abandoned places and found objects. View all posts by unsouthernbelle

4 responses to “Appearances Are Deceiving

  • Pairodox Farm

    I read this post with interest … it reminded me of an NPR radio program I listened to on the way home from work the other day … it was either Fresh Air or Talk of the Nation, can’t recall. In any event, the topic was Southern Identity. It’s too early in the morning now to summarize – but the discussion was about the nature of southern identify, what it means to be from the south, and especially in the light of the civil war. It was all very interesting. The bottomline (I think) was that folks from the south feel very strongly about their history and that being from the south is very special for them. Traditions were important – family and food especially. The folks that called in to the program were saying that although they felt ‘fully assimilated’ – there was always this little bit of them that they felt was special and made them different – they were southern. Interesting stuff. History is interesting isn’t it? It always seems to stick around (weird thought). D

    • unsouthernbelle

      I understand and find it funny when I’m in New York and people comment on my accent. Sometimes I’m torn between two realities.I think it’s important that we retain identity, not hatred.Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two. I hope we heal. I love that you always have interesting comments to broaden my posts.

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