Franklin, Tennessee

So the craziest thing that’s happened to me this entire trip happened the other day, in Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is a quaint, artsy, economically flourishing town about an hour outside of Nashville. I went into town with Kelly, to have lunch with her husband on their 21st wedding anniversary (woot woot for staying together!). So we had this amazing picnic that Kelly made, sitting on the grass at Forth Granger, an old army fort that was used during the civil war.

Afterwards, Kelly and I went to The Factory, which is an old factory building that was fixed up and now houses lots of local artists’ work, as well as cute artsy stores and restaurants. It’s a pretty amazing place, and there were so many things I wanted. We went to visit a friend of Kelly’s who is a painter/artist there, but her old location was now being vacated by Native American artists with some beautiful pieces of jewelry, etc. So as Kelly talked with her friend at her new store location, I wandered back to the Native American work, where I was drawn eventually to the flutes they had there (ever since I almost bought that flute in Cherokee, I’ve wondered whether I made the right choice by passing it up).

Well, I was looking at the flute, and noticed a familiar symbol – the wolf’s paw located at the towards the end of the flute. I look at the woman, and ask if the flute was one of Mr. Barfoot’s, to which she replied, “Yeah, Mark’s just down the hall making a phone call.”

He was there. I turned and saw a row of other flutes on a stand, and there she was: my mulberry flute with sleeping beauty turquoise. I couldn’t believe it.

I had traveled for two weeks and hundreds of miles since Cherokee, North Carolina, and yet here was the flute I had left behind and thought about every day since. In a random town in central Tennessee.

Needless to say, the flute is now mine. 🙂


Still in Hilton Head, SC

The last two days have involved gorgeous walks around Shipyard, thanks to the suggestion of Hollar, who has been trying to help me see my first alligator. Needless to say, it took me a WEEK to finally find one, but it was well worth the wait. You’ll have to see the video to really understand what I’m saying (yes there’s a video and no it’s not a dirty video)

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However, the walks (even sans the alligator) have been simply amazing. Today I realized that more than anything else, I’ve been walking. Not doing anything really special, anything too touristy, anything even very exciting. Yet almost every day since I drove away from Massachusetts has involved a long, long walk through woods and on trails. I have taken more gorgeous pictures in the last two weeks than I have in my lifetime, and there really isn’t a way for me to describe to you how satisfying that is for me.

It happened these past two days – I’ve wanted to cry from the beauty of the earth. I know that sounds ridiculously holistic, but it’s true. I felt this incredible swelling in my heart, much like love. But it was for the moment, for the light and the birds and the trees and the earth.

Last night I met two sets of interesting people. The first incident was at the Tiki Hut, where I walked to sit, have a cold soda, listen to some acoustic music, and read my book. Right when I walked in, this woman gave me the kindest smile, which although is very unique for me, is not an odd thing to have happen in South Carolina. So I smiled in return, sat at one of the back tables on the sand, and read for a while. However, one time that I looked up, she caught my eye, and beckoned me over to sit with her and her husband. I obliged, and before I knew it I was engaged with intelligent, spiritual, and slightly slurred conversation with Bonnie, while her husband, Donny (yes, Bonnie and Donnie) sardonically ignored as much as he could.

I figure that the fateful alignment of this meeting mostly involved the fact that Bonnie was an independent, almost 60-year-old woman. However, she was vibrant and lovely and very intelligent. She had her PhD., was accomplished in every area of her life, and I could BE her in 40 years. What she told me during that conversation was to “do it now” – to live my life, go after my dreams, and do it all now before it’s too late. She insisted that I was intelligent, I was beautiful, and I was responsible – and therefore I could not go wrong. But I had to keep doing exactly what I had started, and that she regretted not doing that herself.

It definitely inspired me, and was exactly the conversation I needed.

The second pair involved a 40-something truck driving/construction working guy named Frankie, and a younger, gregarious black guy named… fine, i forgot his name. The beautiful part of this story is the humor involving the fact that these were the guys I happened to attract at the bar, haha. Which was fine with me – I would much rather have a jovial conversation lacking in sexual awkwardness, than I would an intimate conversation lacking in intellectual stimulation. So Frankie and I talked, and it was wonderful, his friend there joined and started telling me who he’d “never been with a white woman” and shared with me how sexy I looked when a piece of my hair fell just like that over my eye…

And although i appreciated the participle of poetry located within that sentiment, I was still annoyed that he was corrupting my innocent moment with crudity.

The funny part was that I started writing this story here earlier today, and then this evening I walked over to the Tiki Hut, on my way to find something to eat for dinner, and randomly this guy beckons me over to smell his “jasmine.” Yes, that was a new one for me, but while I was telling him my name, Frankie overheard and made a joke. I was shocked to see him sitting there, outside at the bar, sipping a beer. But I was very happy to see him, especially since it gave me an excuse to gracefully run way from the jasmine guy. Funny how people come into our lives – Frankie is the nicest guy, very pleasant, intelligent, down-to-earth, and reminds me of a teddy bear. 🙂 My favorite kind of guy. Anybody that reminds me of my grandpa gets an A+ in my book… not that he was old enough to be my grandpa, but he held that air to him… that presence that makes me smile. And I hate how interactions are instantly labeled as either being picked up or not interested. I don’t understand why people can’t interact and learn about each other, care about each other… be with each other, in a moment, and have no expectations beyond that. Perhaps that’s too much to ask, but I’m going to keep valiantly trying for it.

Tomorrow I need to start planning the next leg of my journey. I definitely want to head back down to Savannah, and I’m waiting to hear back from Chas about whether or not I can annoy him and his wife for a bit, haha. 🙂 Stupidest birthday present he could have asked for! 😛