Monday, September 26, 2011

Rediscovering Tennessee

LC and a donkey at the Lincoln County Fair that we dubbed Hank.
He was a beautiful and very friendly donkey, about 11 months old and with all kinds of ears that he still has to grow in to...........

My Mountain Boy and to a lesser extent myself are starting to climb the walls a bit.
Although the cabin we rented this month is lovely and quiet, with little extra money to spend and a house we own that we have not be able to live in, we are beyond eager to get settled again.
We have spent time almost every day at the house working on the yard and fence and porch (and generally making a pain in the ass of ourselves with the dead-beats) and are pleased with what has been accomplished in both of those regards.
Yesterday we reattached both gates that accessed the privacy fence and the back yard, and then let Jamie loose in the yard.
LC and I smiled and laughed as we watched our dog act like a small child - wandering away from us to explore for a short while and then soon coming back to us for reassurance over and over again.
When we were ready to leave Jamie surprisingly ran up to the porch, climbed the four steps, walked over to the back door and looked up at it, fully expecting us to open the door for her so she could go inside.
LC and I looked at each other in surprise.  She remembers the house.
We have dragged our pup all over hell and back over the past couple of years both literally and figuratively and she remembers this house.
I was surprised when my youngest son visited us in Alaska because Jamie remembered him after not seeing him for years.  Same with my oldest boy when we visited in Nashville a couple of weeks ago.
We feel good about being here.
We feel good about being able to bring our dog home................

Runs are going well although it is still too warm and humid in Tennessee and although I am developing an aggravating hip problem.
Running on black top is probably not helping.
I have not run on roads in a good number of years and my tired and tiring body has appreciated that.
Once we move back into the house I can move the runs back out to the base.
And put my bike back together and dig out my bike gear and bike out at the base.
And then dig out my paddling gear and paddle out at the base.
But in the meantime these are pictures of the countryside around the area of the cabin...................
A water pump at a quiet country church.
There is a sign outside the church saying that hunters are welcome and to come as they are.
As with most of rural Tennessee the area we are currently staying in is a contradiction in terms.
A sometimes eclectic and sometimes disconcerting combination of educated and uneducated, redneck and white collar, law abiding and low brow trash of all races and colors, religious and not ..............
As I approached this fence keeping a herd of goats in the field I saw this very very beautiful Great Pyrenees dog.
This breed of dog is used extensively to guard herds and farm houses in middle Tennessee.
They are everywhere.
Beautiful, large, generally friendly but territorial, and wonderful guard dogs.
When I first saw this dog he was sleeping in the dirt underneath a large tree.
As I quietly approached and then crossed in front of the fence he instantly woke, stood up and began to bark at me, watching me intently.
As I continued walking he moved in my direction.
And then suddenly the small goat herd as one realized that I was there.
Startled they quickly hurried away from the fence line. 
And as he is supposed to, the dog protectively moved in front of them, very wary of this human who may cause his herd harm.
He watched me until I was long past his fence...................
That day was a long and very hot run.
I had forgotten how hilly back roads in Tennessee always are.
And I had forgotten how windy back roads in Tennessee always are.
Although it was hot I was enjoying my run greatly.
Enjoying the quiet, and the new sights, and the reminders of hilly and winding roads.
After being out for a little over an hour I ran down to the bottom of a long and steep hill, came to an intersection with unfamiliar roads veering off in different directions and decided to turn back.
This was not Wyoming where so many roads are straight and you can see for miles in every direction.
I was low on water and had no idea where the roads led.
Reluctantly I turned around and looked up the steep hill I had enjoyed coming down so much.
Deep sigh, deep breathe and I headed up and then headed for home..................
Goldenrod in full bloom in early Fall..............
Hardly any straight roads at all in south eastern Tennessee, and no straight roads at all in the eastern part of the state...............
Two cute dogs I came across while running.
They were simply friendly barkers and no threat, although I have run into a couple during runs that were near misses.
Their owners got a hold of them before they bit me or before I pepper sprayed them - whichever came first.
Country dogs are always plentiful and many times are undisciplined animals, and I am always wary...............
Still abundant wild flowers in the undeveloped pastures surrounding the area.
By the end of next month the flowers will be gone and the leaves will be turned.
And sometime in November we will be knee deep in leaves in our yard.
I cannot wait for the humidity to disappear and for the temperatures to begin cooling in earnest...............
This home is perched high on top of the hill in the picture above.
I am still getting used to the differences between Wyoming and Tennessee.
Night and day.
I am in "Rediscovering Tennessee" mode.
Viewing it all with new eyes after having been away from it for the better part of two years.
Familiar.  Unfamiliar...................
On Saturday a lady I used to work with and who has stayed in touch with me through all of my ups and downs since leaving Tennessee in January 2010 (can sometime live an entire lifetime in 21 months?) dropped by the cabin to visit.
As we sat informally on the front porch talking about everything and about nothing I found myself wondering if I had ever felt so relaxed and so informal while in Juneau.
The answer is no.
One of my supervisors, who is no longer in Juneau, told me at the time that there are some good people in Juneau.
I had no doubt that that was true, but when I pointed out that I didn't deal with any, he with resignation had to acknowledge that what I was saying was correct.
Regardless, that was then and this is now, and on Saturday I sat relaxed and happy on the front porch with my friend.
I used to ride my bike past this small stream all the time.
The other day LC and I stopped to take a picture of it.
Because of money and because of yard work we have been staying close to home since arriving back in Tennessee.
Once we get settled there are so many places up "on the mountain" that I want to visit.................
One of a plentiful supply of gun stores locally.............
As we were driving down a steep hill towards the cabin we saw this little guy standing on the side of the road.
LC stepped on the brake hard so that we could stop in the middle of the narrow and steep downhill and take a picture of him.
After snapping pictures we both sat looking at him and wondering when he was going to run off.
We stayed like that for another minute before LC finally let off the brakes just enough to inch forward.
That brief but sudden movement was enough.  The ground hog instantly turned and ran full speed up the embankment, underneath the fence and then disappeared into the woods............
Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ........Stanley Horowitz

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