Dear Southeastern United States,
How I love thee! Oh, you majestic region. The more I come to know you, the more I am enamored by you. Your rolling hills, your vertigris, your sandy beaches, your marshes and bayous, the great Mississippi, the lakes scattered about the Appalachians. Your vastly different but equally swoon-worthy landscapes that seem to change with every state.
Most of all I love your coasts. The presence of palm trees makes my heart skip a beat -- so much so I carried a Sago palm home with me after my last trip to Savannah. There's a man who planted a big, majestic palm tree in a yard on Old Hickory Boulevard that I see every time I drive to yoga. Such whimsy and delight it brings! I had to do a double-take initially. But alas -- it is not just me who adores your palms so.
You truly have the most stunning cities in this whole country. European-influenced architecture, vibrantly colored vegetation. Can it be summer all year long? I don't know if I can bear to see the azaleas and crepe myrtles wither away again. How dreary is life without those bright pinks and reds and purples! My dream backyard will be chock-full of every kind of flowered tree and bush I can muster. Roses aplenty. Peonies galore. Hydrangeas for miles. Oh, Southeast, you are the garden of Eden in America.
I don't give you enough credit for your mountains, I know. I have to be in a very particular mood to miss them, but please know that I do appreciate them. I love how old they are, how much character they've accrued over the zillions of years they've been in existence. I've said before that our Tennessee mountains don't hold a candle to the Rockies, but I wouldn't trade them. I don't think I'll ever be a "mountain person," but Appalachians, you are lovely in your own way.
Every day of my life I will pine for your beaches. From the first day I stepped foot on a backyard where I could pick my own clementines (it was the Friday after Thanksgiving, 2007...), I've been madly in love. Oh, to have a citrus grove in my own stomping grounds!! I would immerse myself in sand every single day and be perfectly content to never get it fully out of my hair, if only I could be near your beaches. I love love love love love the heat of the hot Southern sun on my skin (and promise to buy stock in Coppertone, considering my future offspring will undoubtedly be the fairest of the fair-skinned). I love your humidity (except for maybe Louisiana's -- it's just downright CRAZY there) and I will sacrifice snow for year-round warmth. You are amazing in your changing climates... truly someone could get anything they want down here.
Oh, South. I promise I will do everything in my own power to never stray farther north or west of Tennessee. Southeast for me, please. Always and forever.