We had been exploring for quite a few hours - driving, walking, talking, picture taking, greatly loving our trip for so many unexpected reasons.
But we were all three beginning to get tired and it really was time to begin thinking of making our way home.
My Mountain Boy had plugged in the GPS, feeling confident that there must be a road somewhere in the area that would lead us home and that did not include retracing our steps back up to Sewanee.
I was still really enjoying this unexpectedly beautiful and quiet section of flat farm land surrounded by the mountains and hills of southern TN and norther AL, but my testosterone filled male partner was now fully focused on TomTom and was slapping him on the side, compelling our satellite driven piece of Amazon.com purchased merchandise to find a way back home, that did not include doing what I had done the previous day.
Namely to turn back after admitting defeat.................
Hwy 56 is a fairly flat two lane road that parallels the railroad tracks.
Not far from the Alabama line we actually passed across those tracks and drove beyond a very large rock quarry.
The day before (after I had finished visiting the Natural Bridge in Sewanee) I came to learn that the state line is only another mile beyond the tracks.
By this time in our drive my Mountain Boy had reluctantly come to the same conclusion that I had.
That there was no secondary road in this part of BFE Tennessee that would circle us back towards home.
That unless we wanted to drive much further South and take a very scenic (as in lengthy) way home, heading back to the mountain was the only way to go.
Hwy 56 had chewed up and spit out one more victim.
Holy smokes! What a great, wonderful and weird highway!
I deliberately did not show LC where I turned around the day before because I was curious to see how far he would travel before doing the same thing.
He turned around one driveway before I did................
As we headed reluctantly but good naturedly back towards the mountain LC and I both looked to the right and saw the same interesting rock face jutting out from a hillside.
We began looking for a side road that would take us closer to this rock face, and as we approached Sherwood again (and the mining company we had stopped at an hour or so before) we pulled off the highway and headed down a gravel road behind the mine............
We quickly lost sight of the rock face but did come across evidence of a small logging business in the area............
We had turned off the highway and taken a gravel road that circled back and behind the mining company.
Looking at the back of some of the old and wonderful but also crumbling buildings from the old mine that was in existence from the late 1800's into the mid 1900's.............
And finally, after a very long and exciting day, LC and James and I made one last stop on that same gravel side road in Sherwood before making our way home in earnest..............
This cemetery is mostly unkempt but also had a very serene quality about it.
Surrounded by beautiful hills the cemetery sat on top of one of those hills, alone and solitary and a testament to those who lived in this area in the past.
The stones told the stories of those who called this place home with dates ranging from the early-1800's to early 1900's.
Some of the markers were still in very good physical shape.
Some were in very poor shape.
And many grave markers were not headstones in the familiar and common sense of the word.
They were simply large rocks embedded into the dirt.
Left to indicate the life and death of people who's names I will never know.
One particular area of the graveyard gave me pause.
Three grave sites.
Side by side.
Each marker indicating name and years of life.
All with the same last name.
One last link about the small and historic community of Sherwood:
I learned what is obvious to a child. That life is simply a collection of little lives, each lived one day at a time. That each day should be spent finding beauty in flowers and poetry and talking to animals. That a day spent with dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered..........Nicholas Sparks