As the writers head off to Charleston, for another literary adventure with the Southern Sampler Artists Colony, novelist and travel writer Linda Watanabe McFerrin reflects on Southern vistas. Southern Exposure: On the Palmetto Trail ©2010 by Linda Watanabe McFerrin The size of the snake had grown, in the telling, from the length and breadth of my friend Martha’s arm, to the far more dramatic dimensions of her muscular cousin, Dickie’s. I was at a gathering of the Dabbs clan at one of the old family properties by the Crossroads just east of Black River Swamp in the county of Sumter, South Carolina. Martha and I had been hiking along on the High Hills of Santee Passage of the Palmetto Trail when the large green-brown serpent slithered across our paths and disappeared into the waters of Old Levi Mill Lake. Martha was disturbed; I was ecstatic. I let out a gleeful shriek. The South is intriguing territory. Home of the blues, gumbos, gators, haunts, hollers, swamps and all their quirky inhabitants, it’s also been the stomping grounds of some of my favorite writers—William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, Erskine Caldwell, Alice Walker, even Edgar Allen Poe—sensual, steamy and sometimes scary as hell.