Saturday, December 17, 2011

Everything Is A Miracle

After two days of grey skies and cold rain, this morning I woke to brilliant deep blue sky and dry cold.
Perfect, absolutely perfect weather for..............what?
I debated briefly about heading to the base to either run or mountain bike but instead drank coffee, caught up on the news, and then got dressed and grabbed for a paintbrush.
Yesterday LC and I on a rainy day finally worked up enough reluctant motivation to tackle the spare bedroom.
It still contains four large blue plastic storage containers with belongings that I have still  not found a home for yet since we moved back into our house in Tennessee.
In addition to the four containers were things that I first unpacked when we moved in, then took down when we decorated for Christmas, that now also needed to be put somewhere aside from on the spare bedroom floor.
Sean and his wife are spending the night on Christmas Eve so the room definitely needed some organization but of course once we started organizing we realized that a proverbial can of worms was about to be opened.
The room badly needed painting.
Some organizing, a trip to Walmart for a can of paint, and we ended up spending a good part of yesterday afternoon working on one small room.
This morning we finished what we started and the room is now painted a color with a fancy name but is actually some shade of brown with white trim.
With that job completed by mid morning I could not stand it anymore and asked LC if he wanted to go for a drive.
I wanted to see Normandy Dam which is located only 15 miles or so from our home but which ridiculously neither one of us had ever visited.
It was just too special of a day to waste even one more minute in the house.
I made sandwiches while LC got ready to head out, and Jamie followed both me and my Mountain Boy through the house surely and slowly working herself into a frenzy of anticipation.
We were going somewhere and doing something and she knew it and she absolutely wanted to be a part of it.
By the time we were both putting on our shoes Jamie could not stand it anymore and began barking wildly.
Watching her reluctantly sit as if to say "OK I'll do the stupid human pet trick if that's what it takes" while we put on the leash and then watching her immediately run for the door when she hears the click of the leash is an always funny exercise.
She makes me laugh.
And this morning I remembered wondering a number of times while in Juneau when the last time was that I had laughed and really meant it.  I could not remember.
Jamie makes me laugh.
We hit Highway 41A north towards the town of Shelbyville but turned off before even getting close to that town and instead headed for the small community of Normandy.
This little place has a population of 140 people and was originally settled in the mid 1800's as a mid-point railroad town between Nashville and Chattanooga.
It is a lovely community firmly entrenched in rural Tennessee and its major claims to fame are the George Dickel Distillery and Normandy Dam and Normandy Lake.
Liquor and fishing.................
We stopped only briefly to take pictures of a couple of very old buildings on the small strip that makes up Normandy's "business district"...............
As we drove into the parking lot of Normandy Dam I smiled as I looked over at the river and saw a couple of fishermen casting their reels into the water from the tailgates of their trucks.
The Dam is located in the center of rolling hills, pasture land and cow and horse farms.
A very quiet and lovely section of the mid-South.
As we climbed out of the truck I realized while looking around me that I am torn between wanting Spring to arrive so that the bare trees will again be filled with leaves and the realization that once Spring arrives Tennessee is going to begin getting very hot and humid.
And truthfully I am in no big hurry for hot and humid.
The river was fast moving and looked cold, and at the time of our visit was being fed by the dam.............
Across the road from the dam.............
We parked, we walked, we saw and then we moved on.
More on the dam:
Heading further down the road to see what else we could find.............
Only a mile from the dam we pulled in to the boat ramp.
The weather, although still cool, was warming up and I stood on the grass beside the water looking at the bluest of water and the bluest of sky.
Normandy is not a place where you can do a lot of walking.
Surprisingly and unfortunately there are no trails.
The water level was low, as it always is at this time of year, but the terrain close to the lake was extremely rocky.
As I took pictures and watched LC and Jamie walk close to me I knew that I wanted to come back to this place again in the Spring.  Humidity or not.
There were trucks and boat trailers in the parking lot but few people around us.
Happy for the quiet I was pleased to be outside.................
One more tree with very lovely and rustic round pods.
One more tree that I do not know what it is.............
No mountains here.
Only row after row after row of rolling hills and ridiculously blue sky and beautiful blue water.
We were on a calm and quiet adventure on a calm and quiet day............
Dead sexy dog.
Dead sexy Mountain Boy............
A very loaded down small fishing boat.
The only one that I saw on the water today.............
Where do seagulls come from when you live in a land-locked state such as Tennessee?
I have no idea but I see them often at the lakes in the region.
And I see them often at Walmart parking lot in town.
They are as abundant at Walmart as the very fat and sassy ravens were at the Walmart in Juneau..............
After leaving the boat ramp we veered onto smaller country roads hoping to find a side road leading towards another lake boat ramp or pull off, but instead got turned around on winding and hilly country roads.
On an easy-going day free from pressure and goal constraints neither LC nor I nor James were concerned about getting lost.
The road would lead somewhere eventually.
Wherever somewhere was, was OK with us.
Very surprisingly we ended up winding our way back close to Rutledge Falls:
I had seen a sign as we were heading for the dam showing direction to a place called Ledford Mill.
Ledford Mill sounded familiar to me but I could not remember why.
With still time and energy left to burn we headed in that direction, drove down a very narrow country road that paralleled a beautiful stream and eventually pulled our truck into the dirt parking lot of a closed antique store in the form of an old barn.
As soon as I saw Ledford Mill I realized that I had been in this place before.
It is a rustic bed and breakfast establishment almost completely hidden in the woods. 
It is also an antique store.
And home to a wonderful set of falls, bridges and benches.
I had eaten lunch at Ledford Mill a few years ago with a group of people that I knew at that time and although I did not know her well, I knew one half of the married couple who own this place.
Memories of the place were a little fuzzy as I walked closer to the building and I did not remember anything at all about the falls and small lake that was close by.
I also did not remember going to Ledford Mill the way we had come.
As I struggled to put the pieces together I looked to my right and saw this beautiful log home.
Looking to my left and seeing the antique store and bed and breakfast I barely remembered the building.
But remembered nothing of this wonderful stone bridge, lake to the right of the bridge or falls to the left.
I slowly walked across the bridge taking in everything around me.
I felt as though LC and I had found an unexpected treasure.............
The bed and breakfast and antique store.
Disappointingly on this day the place was closed...........
Pictures I found online of the inside of the bed and breakfast:

After wandering around Normandy and Normandy Dam and Normandy Lake, and then winding our way through unfamiliar back roads and unexpectedly finding ourselves back in town and close to Rutledge Falls, and then driving out to the very beautiful Ledford Mill only to find out that I had visited there once before it was time to head back.
We made one last stop before making our way home and that was to Walmart for groceries.
I have promised myself a million times that I will not be found in a Walmart store on a Saturday.
And yet again I was standing in a Walmart store on a Saturday, and the Saturday before Christmas no less.
We should have gone to another store but stopped there without thinking, in a rush to get shopping done as quickly as possible but of course ended up spending far too much time in there.
All of the good feelings I had for both the productive and then exploring Saturday morning were gone as I headed out of the store, relieved to be done, and swearing yet again that I will not be found in a Walmart store on a Saturday.
As we headed for the far end of the parking lot I saw them in front of me.
I had not seen them in a couple of weeks and I smiled, happy to see them again.
At the end of the Walmart parking lot, and in the middle of the frantic and frenetic and overwhelmingly busy shopping mecca of this section of town is a large pond.
And that large pond is home to a huge flock of Canadian geese.
I do not know why they are there or why they chose this particular place to call home, but I am very glad that they did.
LC saw them at the same time that I did and was already pulling the truck into a spot at the very far end of the lot.
As too-focused shoppers were too focused on shopping and as traffic passed me heading in and out of the lot in an almost non-stop line, I put them all away.
Traffic and shoppers and noise were all gone, and for a few brief minutes I was alone in my own world.
Just me and a blue sky and a blue pond and 50 or so very quiet geese.
It was a very good day.................
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle..........Albert Einstein

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