I grew up in a suburb outside Charlotte curious about everyone and everything from a place located anywhere but there.
I wanted to know what people ate, what they believed and why they believed it.
One constant in all of my travel, friendship and life experiences is the appreciation of landscape, cityscape and what people cultivate.
When I write, my favorite part of the story is deciding how my town will look or if the landscape is resonant of the narrow hills on which I grew. If the land flows alongside a river, or if is flat and full of golden corn.
True of many writers from the Carolinas, I’m attached the land and different cityscapes.
As a small city journalist, I studied the different structure of a town and how it influences the citizens.
As the wife of a Christmas tree farmer’s son, I learned what passion for land means:
It is something, in spite of all the words in the English language, I could not portray to you.
The passion of which I write is born and breathes with men and women like my husband.
A shot of my father-in-law’s farm where apple trees once produced fruit. The Christmas trees grew on another part of the land.
Flowers outside my father-in-law’s house.
My son, Charles, on a John Deere tractor in his grandfather’s barn.
Flowers Charles brought to John and me.
John does a project for his father where tomato plants will later grow.
On days I take my son to the park, John, my husband, reminds me he had worked on a farm. In his spare time, he and his siblings played in their imaginary world on the acres of their parents’ farm land. The garden provided food for their table.
As a reporter, I covered towns with an agricultural background. I understood terms such as grass fed beef and how a farmer’s soy bean crop was ruined by too much rain.
Now when I shop and cook, I go to a farmer’s market where my husband last summer restored the roof. Crops are grown by farmers from North and South Carolina. Anywhere else I shop I look for the same freshness.
Food, like landscape, inspires with its many colors, traditions throughout the world, smells and sounds.
Salad with fresh tomatoes and lemon as a garnish from the farmer’s market.
Salmon plated over brown rice and fresh cooked spinach, feta and onions.
Food from the land or city takes us somewhere we long for, even when we cannot afford the plane ticket.
We yearn for it.
It influences us.
Therefore, we imagine a place of which we write.
Where is your place?
By Rebecca T. Dickinson