I moved away from Georgia three years ago to work on my master’s degree at the University of Alabama. Although Alabama is only one state away, there are days when it feels like it is a million miles away. On those particular days, I am typically missing any one of the following things only Georgia can offer.
1. All things UGA football: Do I go to the school with the nation’s No. 1 football team?Yes. Are games in Bryant-Denny stadium fun? Absolutely. Does that make me miss Georgia football any less? No. There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, like UGA football. UGA has the best fans in the world, and I had to leave to realize it. I grew up a Dawg, and I have been sitting in the upper deck of Sanford Stadium since I could toddle up the steps. Each game is a labor of love—of yelling, fist clenching, sweating, cheering. As a Dawg, I have watched the most heartbreaking losses and the most exciting wins. It takes a village in the Bulldog Nation, and there is nothing like being in the stands cheering on the Dawgs.
2. Athens in the Fall: The sky is the bluest in Athens in October. Most days are cloudless, and the sky is so vibrantly and perfectly blue that it hurts your eyes.
3. Atlanta skyline: The view of the skyline from I-20 East is the best view of Atlanta, and my heart beats a little faster each time it appears in the distance.
4. Flat fields filled with red clay: I grew up in South Georgia surrounded by the characteristic red Georgia clay. There is something about the deep burnt orange-red color stretching for miles in a freshly plowed field that is balm to the heart. It is also the world’s toughest substance to get out of the knees of a pair of blue jeans. Once you take a step into the clay, it consumes you. It works its way under your fingernails, colors your socks and the hem of your pants, and cakes the soles of your shoes.
5. The backyard at my parents’ house in the summer: This is the one spot that I miss most of all. Although I grew up in town, my childhood home sits in front of a pond, and there are no neighbors behind the house. There are only woods filled with birds, frogs, bugs and the occasional deer. My mom is an avid gardener, but not the “here are a few really pretty potted plants” kind. She is the full greenhouse, hundreds of potted plants, Jurassic Park-era ferns, hanging baskets from every beam kind. Her yard looks like something out of Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens. Did I mention that she does it all by herself? The yard in the summer buzzes with bees in the flowers, crickets in the grass, and frogs in the pond. It always smells like freshly cut grass that she and my dad have just mowed. Even though the June temperature in South Georgia usually hovers around 90 degrees, the yard in the evening somehow always feels cool, and it is the perfect place to sit for a few minutes until the mosquitoes drive you inside.
My days of missing Georgia are coming to an end, and I will be moving back to Georgia in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, please stand outside under the blue sky and breathe in the cool autumn air for me!
A Georgia native and UGA alumnae, Collins Goss is now working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Arts Administration emphasizing in communications at The University of Alabama. Collins will graduate in December and hopes to return to the Peach State.