The river moves, free and unconstrained. With an earned casualness from centuries of repeated labor, its greenish brown waters meander down through the wooded valley. Gazing at the banks, soaked with river water, caked with mud and littered with unmoved rocks, memories tumble through my mind like the cool, rushing water. There are moments of serene stillness and moments of agitated turbulence; memories merge into one and combined, form a visual river of ageless waters. Here on my mother’s deck, stretched out along the rocky banks of the Hiawassee River in Murphy, NC, I am come to the land of my youth. Like the wandering cicadas, whose lonesome melodies echo throughout these dense forests, my family huddles together once a year, reuniting to celebrate our own traditions, retelling the same stories and making new memories. The South is a sovereign land, protected and haunted by memories and tradition.