In the Lowlands Low: Swamping About the South

Creek flowing into the White Oak River above Haywood Landing, North Carolina, March 2014. Photo by Ann Cary Simpson.

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In the Lowlands Low: Swamping About the South

by Bland Simpson, Ann CarySimpson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 20, No. 3: Southern Waters

"At every turn in this country, there was a branch, a slough, a poquoson, a swamp, and most of us sensed that we did not simply live near swamp—we belonged to it."

Gaither’s Lagoon, a small, dark backwater off the Pasquotank River in northeastern North Carolina, was less than two blocks from my childhood home in Elizabeth City, and my boyhood friends and I were always roaming its seemingly enormous vine-shrouded reaches at will. Hurricane Hazel had laid a big gum over into the crotch of an oak, and someone had nailed steps onto it and built a platform up there, and we climbed it and sat in this crow’s nest and looked down on our swampy world. Always there seemed to be more birds and turtles and bullfrogs at-large than snakes, and we felt little if any fear in that place.