Live performance in Alabama is the sound of praise, devotion, blues; protest and evolution; the sound of familiar voices rising and falling in story, song, or laughter; reunion. It is the reason we return.

We asked local artists to describe their home. These sounds, images, recipes, and letters are Alabama.

The sound of things passing through, train, log trucks, laughter.

by Shana Berger: artist, writer, works with people

Festival project: Alabamians, near and far, gather around stories of leaving and returning. Project details coming soon.

My dear love York,

I’m writing you this letter just to reassure you that I have never forgotten you and I never will. My life, my world and everything in it started out with you. You watched over me as I grew up. You stood by as I fell and skinned and scraped my knees and elbows. When I knew I was dying from a broken heart, there you were with loving eyes and helpful arms to help me up and reassure me everything would be OK.

Read the full letter

by Mary Zeno: a down home folk poet

My dear love York,

I’m writing you this letter just to reassure you that I have never forgotten you and I never will. My life, my world and everything in it started out with you. You watched over me as I grew up. You stood by as I fell and skinned and scraped my knees and elbows. When I knew I was dying from a broken heart, there you were with loving eyes and helpful arms to help me up and reassure me everything would be OK.

Oh how I loved you then but I didn’t know how much until I found myself longing for you and the simple life you offered me. How I so miss the simple days where my problems seemed to be bigger than the giant Goliath but I would go off somewhere no one else seemed to notice to think and cry.

And then I realize you highlighted some of the prettiest things, such as the wildflowers and the smell of the honeysuckles. Sometimes I would sit on the porch with my grandma waiting to see the four o’clock flowers open up, which I never got to see because there were other more important things happened to me only minutes before they would open.

I can’t wait for this spell that you can and will cast on me, once again, taking me by surprise and changing me as well as I hoped to change you. I only knew of you in my past and I loved you. You know, like they say that there is no place like home, and I can truly vouch for that and I also vouch for the love that I have for you. I’ve lived in other places but there’s no other place that can hold my heart in the palm of its hand the way you have and still do. All it takes is that same look you give and so easily it softens my heart. How can I say anything but yes to you when you hold me with such a strong but yet gentle and firm grip?

I can’t wait to spend the night with you once again to feel your warm breath on my face and the cool touch of your fingers on my sweaty damp skin. Oh how I can look in your eyes and see each star sparkle in them! The bright light flashes so loud until in my mind I can hear nothing else. Then there’s the beautiful lightning bugs flying all around us, blessing us. When you awaken me with the kiss of the sun is when I can rise from my bed and give thanks to God for you and all the simple things that I can receive from Him and from you… the great town of York.

When you and God see fit for the rain to fall to give the outdoors the touch of life with each drop of rain, that is only one of the times I feel you with me. I’ll be so glad when I can lay in your strong arms and rest in deep peaceful sleep.

Love always,
Mary Zeno

 

 

 

by Catherine Shelton: creative, fun, organic gardener, artist