This past weekend I took a trip to Tennessee to visit a friend. I’d been looking forward to it since November. Originally I was supposed to go in December, but scheduling conflicts bumped it to January. It worked out well, though, because my friend had secured a new apartment and gotten settled in before my arrival.
The whole trip was a bit of a whirlwind, as I only had a three-day-weekend to make it all happen. Ironically, while most of the US had Monday’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to extend their weekends, I had my usual Friday-Sunday off before I had to be back to work on the holiday. The good news there meant that I was missing most of the holiday traffic, and all my driving, while tiresome, was pretty easy.
I left Thursday afternoon, after work, and stopped over in Asheville for the night to visit Sister and Brother-In-Law. They were late getting in [from their date night], so I only got to visit with them a short while, but it’s still nice to see them and to spend even a little time in Asheville. It was also nice to break up the driving a bit. (Asheville is the halfway point between Durham and Cookeville, Tennessee.)
Friday morning I set out nice and early so I’d arrive in Tennessee with most of the day still ahead of me. It was such a treat to see my friend. She left Durham almost a year ago. Aside from being my friend, she was also my [brilliant!] acupuncturist, so the loss was doubly hard. We spent some time catching up in her home before we had to pick up her grandmother from an appointment. Then I had the fortune of tagging along as my friend transported her grandmother to her home in Red Boiling Springs, which is about an hour away from Cookeville. Red Boiling Springs is a rural area, so you can likely imagine how beautiful it is. Lots of grass and trees and ponds and rivers and animals and sky … Hills in the foreground, mountains looming further along the horizon. Tennessee is really a state with rich and beautiful landscapes. My friend’s grandmother lives on a wide expanse of acreage in a charming log home she built with her late husband. I got to walk the perimeters of the main ‘yard’, and, let me tell you, it was gorgeous. I could certainly see how one might never want to leave such beauty and tranquility.
But … Leave, we did. Back in Cookeville we took a walking tour of downtown, enjoyed a delicious dinner at the local pub, and then shared some more conversation before turning in.
Saturday was, if it was even possible, more exciting than Friday. Saturday, my friend took me to Rock Island State Park.
But … Before that, we took another walking tour of Cookeville, where I got to see the all-organic farmers’ market, and my friend’s favorite coffee shop. The market was really sweet with some gorgeous produce awaiting the brave shoppers who came out in the below-freezing cold.
Okay, back to the State Park! We went to hike one the most beautiful trails I think I’ve ever seen. The start and finish of the trail treats hikers to gorgeous, massive waterfalls on the far side of the Caney Fork River. The river, itself, is a beautiful jade green serpent winding alongside the trail, and plays host to a variety of wildlife. (We got to see a blue heron, some ducks, several kayakers, and more on our hike.) The trail winds through beautiful woods dotted with occasional, smaller waterfalls, and blanketed with many different varieties of trees, mosses, mushrooms and other florae. It was so lovely and vital and peaceful. I am never happier than when I’m in the woods, and this was a perfect way for me to spend the afternoon with my friend … And her sweet little dog, Bowie.
Later that day, my friend asked me if I’d like to do a trade for services, which I had not been expecting at all, so it was an awesome treat! We spent the rest of the day with her getting a massage and me getting an acupuncture treatment. Aaaaahhhh. Bliss.
Finally, we made some food, listened to more records, and talked into the evening.
I had to leave early Sunday, which was sad. But, it felt like a good time to leave. I always think it’s nice to leave on a high note, and this was definitely in the first soprano range.
Once again, I broke my journey at Asheville. I went to lunch with Sister. We also did some crystal and gemstone shopping. (I always try to get a new stone or two when I’m in Asheville.) Then, back to the road for the last leg of the journey.
All in all, this was a wonderful holiday. I might be tired in body from all the driving, but I’m making up for that in the revitalization that my mind and spirit received from the experience. I feel absolutely invigorated and inspired to start working on projects and experiments. Hooray for travel and friends and family … And acupuncture!
I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend, too, gentle readers!
Wishing you love and light!
PS: Photos of the trip to follow …