On an overcast morning that threatened rain I left LC and Jamie at the house and eagerly headed out in search of yard sales and alone time.
Driving down long side roads that are widely used by the residents in town to escape the far too busy main roads, I was vaguely disappointed when I did not see any signs pointing the way to undiscovered treasures.
My search for yard sales was quickly forgotten when I found myself on the outskirts of town and heading on quiet back roads in the general direction of Tims Ford State Park.
I really needed solitary time and with a full tank of gas did not really know where I was going to end up.
Maybe at the park. Maybe not.
I saw a sign for a yard sale just as I was on top of it, so could not stop and turn-off the road safely.
Bypassing the side road that I needed to turn down I continued further, looking for a safe place to turn around on winding and narrow two lane country road.
As I approached a tight left turn I looked over to my right and saw the horses.
I have seen them many times since arriving back in Tennessee (usually on the way to Tims) but have never stopped to photograph them.
Yard sales temporarily forgotten I (on the spur of the moment) turned down a side road adjacent to the field, where the horses were quietly and contentedly grazing.
As is usual on Tennessee back roads there was very little space to pull my truck off the road, and much to the noisy chagrin of the two dogs in residence, I parked in the shade of a tree in front of their old and slightly derelict house.
As I climbed out of the truck the larger of the two dogs (a slightly overweight golden lab) continued barking enthusiastically from the steps of the house.
The smaller black and white mixed breed dog barked as he wandered closer and closer to me.
I smiled at both of them. They were noisy but also scaredy cats. Dogs.
I crouched down at the side of the road, put out my hand and briefly encouraged black and white scaredy dog to come to me so that I could pet him, but he would have nothing to do with me.
The second time in two days I have unexpectedly put animals on alert.................
Tiny and bright yellow wild flowers completely covered the field.
These beautiful flowers are everywhere now.
Growing in all the fields that are simply left to grow wild, instead of being plowed in preparation for spring planting.
On a quiet country road I stood for a few minutes watching the horses graze.
They were beautiful, healthy, with plenty to eat and plenty of room to roam.
I have noticed many times that a handful of them have similar black and white spotted coloration.
They were all aware of me, and occasionally glanced in my direction, wondering just who the heck I was and why I was watching them.......................
After taking pictures of horses I walked along the side of the road, heading back to my truck and continuing to take pictures of the lush field.
It felt like I was a hundred miles from town instead of only a few miles.
The pace in Tullahoma is still unnervingly fast for me and I am still overwhelmed by the traffic and noise and pace of life in this small town that feels like a big town.
In this place not far outside of town there was only quiet.
Horses leisurely grazing, flowers leisurely growing, little traffic passing by on the two lane highway that I had turned off so that I could stop and photograph.................
After taking many pictures of black and white horses, and many pictures of yellow and green fields I looked up at the sky.
Surprisingly I saw one small patch of blue in the middle of the mess of grey and white clouds.
Two thoughts immediately came to mind when I saw it.
In Juneau (that more often than not had grey skies) one small patch of blue was known as a "sucker patch".
You would see the blue and it would sucker you in, making you hopeful that the skies would clear and the sun would shine.
More often than not your hopes would be dashed. And you would realize that the sky had suckered you in yet again.
One day not long after we left Juneau I posted a blog and someone responded back in the comments section, telling me that they had seen an "eye in the sky" and that it was watching over my family.
I looked back at the blog post when I read that, wondering what the reader had seen that I had not.
Sure enough, the sky looked just like it did in this picture - small patch of blue surrounded by ominous looking clouds.
At that particular moment, when we were still hurting and angry and trying to regroup from Juneau I greatly appreciated the kind words and the kind sentiment.
I can't look at small blue patches of sky now without thinking about sucker patches and eyes in the sky...............
After talking kindly one more time to the still wary and barking dogs I climbed back into my truck and headed back to the yard sale I had bypassed, eventually picking up a couple of bicycle locks.
Across the road from the yard sale was a large field filled with growing oats.
This area is filled with farms.
Horse farms. Beef and dairy farms. Goat farms.
Farms that grow oats and soy beans and cotton and corn.
Oats are the only crop I have seen growing to this point, but many fields are now tilled and planted and will soon also begin to grow.
For months we lived in a world of brown. Now it is a world of many colors again.................
Continuing further away from town I found myself unexpectedly turning onto one more steep and winding side road leading down to Holiday Landing Marina located only a few miles from Tims Ford State Park.
I had visited this place on a cold and sunny day in December, and on that day the marina was completely empty.
There were no trucks with boat trailers in the parking lot.
The restaurant was closed.
The trees were bare but the day was absolutely quiet and absolutely gorgeous.
A completely different day today.
Much busier but still not as busy as it will get.
Winter has always been my favorite time of year because it is so empty and the world feels abandoned.
There is a peace to winter that I miss during the frantic and busy and noisy other seasons of the year.................
There is a lot to see and enjoy at the marina.
The ducks along the edge of the water are noisy and cute and natural comics, and during the months that the restaurant is open they eat well when visitors (as they always do) throw food from the outdoor section of the restaurant over the rail and into the water for them.
The recreational boats are wonderful and so is the large cove where this place is located.
More information about Holiday Landing:
A large and brightly colored metal fish standing tall above the roof of the Blue Gill Grill at the marina.
I have only eaten at the restaurant a couple of times over the years but the food is excellent, the atmosphere is friendly and very relaxed, and it is a whole lot of fun to sit in the outdoor section and feed the ducks...............
After spending a lot of time beside the water I made my way back towards town.
On the way home my Mountain Boy finally called me back and I pulled into the parking lot of a closed country store slash restaurant slash gas station.
I had seen bows and guns at a yard sale, had talked to the owner who was an old man now but who had retired from Special Forces in the Navy, and I had tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with LC to let him know what I had found.
After giving him directions to the sale and agreeing to meet him there, I looked up from the steering wheel of the truck and saw these guys.
Knowing that LC would not make it to the sale for a while I climbed out of my truck and slowly headed towards them.
As one they stopped grazing, lifted their heads and stared at me intently with that blank gaze that cows always have.
I walked slowly towards them, trying not to scare them away.............
This happy guy was sitting alone in the middle of deep lush green grass and millions of buttercups.
He watched me intently for a few moments before curling up and closing his eyes.
After watching them for a short while I smiled to myself, and realized that I had greatly enjoyed a quiet and solitary adventure in the country.
I climbed back into the truck and headed down the road to meet LC................
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems..............Rainer Maria Rilke