This will be a difficult post for me, emotions high and wounds still very much open. Beaufort is my home, but I was born and raised near the coast of Mississippi.
As all southern women, my roots are as strong and deep as those of the sweet gum trees that line the streets.
There is an unmistakable, irreplaceable, pride that simply comes standard with a birth certificate signed in the state of Mississippi.
I am sitting in the Ole Brook library checking my email (parents still have dial up) and the water stained carpet, the missing ceiling tiles, and the diminished volume of children's books stings as if a hornet had just made breakfast out of my heart.
Katrina left her mark. Everywhere.
It seems just like yesterday that I was searching for my family, friends, any semblance of all that I had ever known.
There is no photograph, no newspaper clip, that could ever rightly portray the feeling that consumes you once you stare at devastation that was once home.
It is still next to impossible to discuss.
I am proud. Katrina's initials are still cemented all around, yet my family, my friends, my Mississippi has pulled herself up without blame, without self pity, without the media attention and buzz.
She is strong, she is beautiful, she is proof that the human spirit, the human will, cannot be over- thrown, over- looked, or out done.
So as I sit in this small public library surrounded by words, history, and photographs, there is no louder testament than the water stained carpet, the missing ceiling tiles, and the absence of some of my childhood favorites.
There was always character in this building, now her scars tell a story no written work can rival.
You are strong, you are resilient. Good job, Mississippi.