I always forget how much cities overwhelm me. Nashville was nice, though. I did some sight-seeing and soul-searching. I went to Centennial Park, saw the Parthenon and the suffragist memorials. I met a bunch of Mike’s friends and ate some great food. I drank great coffee at a few cafes while I did writing, reading, and drawing. Another day, I went to downtown Nashville and strolled the walking bridge. Then I walked up Broadway (which was wild, even at noon on a Friday), and strolled around looking at buildings until I retreated to a cafe to read. I tried out an advanced Ashtanga yoga class… it was so intense! So awesome, though. It was much more structured and rigorous than the yoga I usually do, but fun and rewarding. I definitely want to do more of it!
On Sunday, I drove to Natchez Trace, a parkway west of Nashville, and stopped at Jackson Falls for some barefoot wandering. It was nice to wander down the rocky stream, balancing on wobbly rocks and treading lightly on brush and pebbles. At the end of the stream (I started by the waterfall) was a little meadow-like clearing with birds flying around and singing songs. It was peaceful, so I sat on a fallen tree and listened for a while. Then I made my way back up the stream and did some yoga and playing by the waterfall. When I got back in my car to head out, I felt refreshed and relaxed from the air, sounds, and the stimulation of rocks and cold water on my feet.
My family went to the beach a lot, and my mom loves taking walks, especially on rocks. We pick up things that catch our eye- rocks, sea glass, shells- and take only the most special with us. My mom would always say that going to the beach was better than getting a pedicure. It’s true. The sand and rocks exfoliate your feet, and hit pressure points as you stroll along, feasting your eyes on the millions of tiny objects below.
While it was nice to be with my cousin (thanks for everything Mike, I love you!) I left Nashville on Monday to head south to Alabama. I drove to Alpine, Alabama (it is right next to Talladega, which I only recognize from that movie with Will Ferrell… which I do not think ever watched through, and most likely will not). One of the things I like best about this area is the 70 mph speed limit on highways. Everyone goes that fast, anyway. The grass is greener down here, and the accents stronger. The family I am staying with is extremely nice, and, with the exception of a few words and phrases, we understand each other pretty well. They own and run Chastain Farms, which was built in the 1930s. While it used to be primarily a dairy farm, they are mostly livestock and produce, now. I have been working on cleaning up the hoop house which has mainly strawberry plants, but a row or two was dedicated to tomatoes and basil last season.
Today I cleared out a field of dead melon plants that were overlooked at the end of the season. While I enjoy the full body work, I admit I am a bit out of shape. It is nice, though, to feel exhausted by evening. All the cleaning and construction projects I have been doing have made me realize how much I am looking forward to the next growing season. It has been nice to have a slower pace for a few months, but I miss the hustle, bustle, and rewards of the growing and harvest. It may not feel like it up north, but spring is fast approaching here. There are daffodils and nights of soft, warm air.
Yesterday marked one full month of travel, and I felt it. I miss the comfort of good friends and laughter, the quiet of home and family. If you’re reading this, shoot me a text or give me call. I love you and would love to hear from you, and quite honestly need some encouragement and distraction. I am considering a trip to the gulf coast before heading to Atlanta to see Eve, Raina, and others. You’ll hear about it, whatever happens.