Coming to Poscataw

At first the bus traversed the coast.  Stoplights slowed my escape as the Greyhound passed casinos, canneries, and processing factories.  Once we’d crossed city limits the royal palms gave way to coastal oaks.  Spanish moss shaded the road.  A manmade beach of white sand dazzled out the left window.  Segregated clumps of sunbathers dotted the beach.  Fishing boats dotted the horizon. 

Next came Gulfport.  Squat franchise restaurants mingled with Sun ‘n Surf Hotels and RV Parks.  From there we turned north, toward Poscataw and the Capital.  Within twenty miles the oaks thinned, yielding to the Piney Wood.  The trees were tall and thin and free of underbrush and vines.  I’d expected bayous or swamp people or alligator fighting but my western expectations were betrayed. 

The road curved and forked and carried on in a winding, two-lane fashion.  We stopped twice at beat-down convenience stores surrounded by constant pines.  Infrequent shotgun houses with fading paint revealed little of the people within.

I looked out the window and saw the pines grouped closer together, blocking the view from the road.  As we closed on Poscataw the underbrush gained mass.  Carnivorous vines wound together in an ever-growing tapestry that devoured pines and threatened to overrun the road.  Civilization had given way here to a creeping jungle of pine and kudzu.  I felt the green closing in on me as I drew closer to the family I’d never known. I swallowed hard. Why was I here?


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