Last Saturday I woke at 3:30 AM, stumbled into my car, and drove twenty minutes south through the Colorado rain to my local airport where I met my adoring class of 15 including me plus our always hysterical prof for our 6 AM flight to Houston where we then took off again and landed in Memphis.
From there we snuggled into vans and drove the hour or so south to Oxford, Mississippi, where we’ve been sleeping at the Inn on the campus of Ole Miss all week.
We brunched at the Old Oxford Club, tripped through the cemetery to Faulkner’s grave, and met daily in Rowan Oak, where we discussed Absalom, Absalom! while sitting in chairs Faulkner and his family lounged on.
And we journeyed down to the Delta and chatted on porches built on land that was once a plantation, and I felt pain at thinking a century ago, two centuries ago. And in Clarksdale, we roamed Tennessee William’s church and the Blues museum and Ground Zero, Morgan Freeman’s restaurant and bar.
I tripped through Bailey’s Woods and read in the Grove and offered my blood to pesky mosquitos and napped in my college-paid-for ice-box suite and been eating fried food and pie and catfish like it’s my job. And beneath the full moon at midnight, I swigged bourbon with my classmates, my friends, and toasted to the laughter and the pain and the opportunities and absurdities.
Saturated in the Mississippi air, the sweet heavy hair, saturated in the sweet tea and the drawls and the interesting long tank and nork campus trend, saturated in the history and old old old so-clearly-not-west-cost trees. And though I’ve been reading Faulkner–oh, the Faulkner I’ve been reading and discussing that’s been sending my head into an hourly spin–I can’t help but wonder, am I really getting credit for this week?