A number of years ago, you frequently heard the phrase “Two Georgias.” Those comments have faded because, I suppose, the Atlanta crowd think that they have won and now represent all of the state. That is not the case.
There are, in fact, numerous Georgias. We are perhaps one of the most diverse states in the union. Geographically, we range from the mountains in the north, to the swamps in the south.
Our soil ranges from granite domes to red clay hills to sandy lowlands to Cyprus bogs and salt water marches.
Each change in land forms brings out different ecosystems. Take, for instance, the fall line and its corresponding gnat line. Millions of years ago, the sea level was much higher than now. The coast line at that time ran across central Georgia from Augusta, to Macon, to Columbus. You can still find old beach sand all along that line. It is called the “Fall Line” because it contains the final rapids and falls on Georgia’s rivers. Below the line, the water is slow and deep enough to allow ships and barges to navigate. But they are blocked from going any farther north.
The soil below the line contains a significant amount of sand from the old beaches while north of the line the soil is mostly clay. These two soils provide a habitat for two dramatically different forms of gnats. The gnats north of the line just buzz around your face and irritate your eyes. The sand gnats south of the line bite!
I was quickly introduced to the sand gnat during the time I lived in Savannah. Being a native Georgia Redneck, I am never comfortable unless I have something growing in the yard. We moved into our home in the late spring and I immediately headed to the backyard with my spade to dig up a small space for squash, tomatoes and corn. To my displeasure, every shovel of soil I turned released a swarm of those pesky gnats! A neighbor told me that preparing a garden spot needed to be done early in the spring before the gnats started hatching. He was right.
There are definitely two Georgias. North and south Georgia are different in topography, ecology, socially, politically and economically.
But there are more than two divisions of the state. Savannah is a unique culture, as is Union County in the mountains. Even the accent used by natives differs. Once you hear the native dialect of Georgia’s mountain people, you will see what I mean. My uncle Sloan married a mountain woman; Aunt Minnie. I will never forget her goodbye following our visits. In her slow somewhat nasally voice she would say: “Now you’uns come back to see we’uns sometime!” We don’t all say “Y’all!”
Georgia is a unique and special place, made even more so by our great diversity. I hope we never lose it.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.
I don't get this post. This is a very nice opinion piece that reminded me of many of my own experiences. It would be clarifying to know why Anonymous makes such an unsupported statement. All I can imagine is that the poster was drunk and/or is just a hateful person with nothing whatsovever to do.
09/06/10 at 10:34 AM
It looks like irony, that post, but I'm sure it wasn't intended in that way.