Fall foliage at Lake Jeff Davis
…near Prentiss, Mississippi
An alien from a different plane wandering the universe in a tiny camper
…near Prentiss, Mississippi
Altitude 108.884 ft
64°F (feels 62°F) Mostly Sunny (wind 8.9 mph)
Back on the road! This sleepy campground is on a beautiful stocked lake. Love the fall foliage…
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
I’m sitting in the morning sun.
The soft warmth of its rays on my skin and reassuring warmth of my black coffee makes me sleepy.
I close my eyes and soak in all in.
In one or two days it’ll be time to move on from this wondrous Land Between the Lakes. I don’t want to leave but alas the Forest Service has 14 day limits on camping here. It’s for good reason — to make room for others to enjoy its beauty.
Here is the nirvana of camping. Vast lands, bodies of water aplenty, infinite trails to explore and lots of dispersed camping in solitude away from people.
These kind of places are the reason for my wandering and existing. It is where I can fully unfurl my soul in peace and tranquility.
And so I must move on — the quest resumes.
I should explain some of the camping jargon I tend to throw around here and there, yeh?
Primitive and dispersed camping generally means camping in the wild. No electricity and such. Primitive sites may have picnic tables and/or vault toilets.
Dispersed camping is the best kind where there’s nuttin’ — just wilderness to camp in.
Boondocking means camping without hookups of any kind — no electric or water.
The rest, i.e. state, county, city, Corp of Engineers, National Parks, etc. for the most part are referred to as developed campgrounds with facilities. Some of these are akin to “camping” in a parking lot crammed next to each other (yuk).
Dispersed and primitive camping is the holy grail of ’em all; they’re harder to find and is mostly free.
Many folks seem to prefer developed campgrounds to hook their campers up to electricity and water so there’s more of these sort of campgrounds.
Most national & state forests and wildlife refuges have dispersed camping; these are my preferred spots. BLM — the federal Bureau of Land Management agency — has the most available land for truly dispersed camping but the vast majority of it is out west. That’s why most nomads go thataway, esp. in the winter.
The purest form of camping? Backcountry camping where you throw on a backpack and hike somewhere remote and pristine.
My preference is dispersed camping in the wild but I go wherever the wind takes me on a journey of constant discovery. So I take what is given wherever I end up, be it developed, primitive, or dispersed camping.
These days the majority of developed campgrounds require reservations which put a crimp in going with the wind wanderings. This is where I have to begrudgingly plan ahead a bit unlike in the past.
And it’s more difficult to stay longer at these places because there are usually only a few days gap of available sites to reserve.
With most dispersed and primitive campgrounds it’s first come, first served and stay as long as permitted (usually 14 days). Just the way I like it!
When I know I’ll be in areas where camping is in demand (usually those near larger cities), I try to plan ahead and reserve available sites on weekends since those are the first to be booked up.
Weekdays are less likely to be booked so that’s where I find flexibility in to go with the wind.
That’s why you’ll see me hopscotching from camp to camp as I make my way to the promised lands of dispersed and primitive camping.
Interestingly it is in the dispersed and primitive camping areas that I make those rare long lasting connections with others.
In these wilder places there is an esprit de corps amongst fellow campers and nomads.
Maybe it’s where I’ll stumble into my next great love? That door is always open to meeting another solitary free spirit to love and embrace.
Most of the year I’ll wander all over. It is in the winter I head west for several months where it’s generally warmer and camping space aplenty (thanks to those vast BLM land holdings).
In the past I’d camp throughout Florida but what with all their state parks switched over to reservation systems without first-come-first-served sites it’s about impossible to snag a site in winter thanks to flocks of snowbirds grabbing them up a year in advance.
Driving in from erranding in town, I let out a long exhale when I’m back at camp. It’s home in nature.
My little cabin way out on the Suwannee river in Florida was like that — I’d exhale deeply when I pulled in the driveway and saw my beloved river.
Do I miss it? Now and then I do.
I’ll get it back one day when I’m ready unless the universe has different plans.
Down near the boat ramp I see a Dad playfully chasing his little boy around on the beach (while masterfully balancing beer in hand). Oh to be a kid again.
And oh to chase my little red-haired bambino around again to hear the sweet elixir of her joyful laugh.
I love you my sweet sweet Alyssa.
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
I feel writer’s block creeping in… Thought I’d try what I do when meditating — step out of my body of thoughts and look at it with an uncritical eye.
So I see these thoughts — these doubts about writing (and being able to keep writing) — and I decide to write about it here and expose ’em to the light of my pen.
It works, relieving internal pressure to break that logjam, allowing my mind to relax and uncork the writing mojo.
Really when I do this stepping back and looking at these thoughts I’m seeing my inner critic. And always it’s the inner critic that kills creativity.
I see these inner critics kill many a good personal blog. Part of the cause is thinking in “writing for an audience” mode.
Write for yourself instead.
Treat your blog like a personal journal that happens to be open to all on the web.
We are always thinking. Writing transfers these thoughts to paper and helps process ’em. Sometimes it susses out the meaning of what you’re really thinking.
Thoughts are also fleeting. I carry a pocket notebook wherever I go to jot down things I want to write about. Otherwise I’m pretty much guaranteed to forget what I wanted to write about when I sit down with my notebook.
FINALLY after several days of furious battles, I snagged that pesky little sucker. I hold the Big Fly Swatter aloft and do a sweet victory dance.
Deep in meditation, I abruptly find myself somewhere in the Colorado mountains at the edge of a rocky creek in a clearing. The air is pristine and sky crystal clear.
There I am crouched, repeatedly stretching and soaking a large, roughly circular patch of animal skin in the water.
Just as abruptly, I snap back and emerge from meditation.
Later after researching, I learn I was preparing the animal skin to be used as the surface of a ceremonial drum.
Was what I saw a glimpse of a past life?
I do wonder if I ought to wear a shirt that says “I CAN’T HEAR SHIT” on the back (sounds better than I’M DEAF, right?) on those multi-use trails that have bikers on ’em.
I’m sure many bikers have tried alerting me from behind on a trail to pass by and were wondering why the arrogant dork wouldn’t budge or move over.
This afternoon a tiny, feisty spider hopped on the side of my mug of freshly brewed chai tea and bolted right off, likely uttering HOT! HOT! Hee hee.
On the way back from my nightly sunset viewing at the overlook, I nearly step on a skunk in the trail of darkness.
The skunk was startled too, tail shooting straight up. I truly thought I was about to get sprayed.
Instead it scurried off under a fallen log.
Thank goodness it’s phew, not pew (oh yes another bad pun).
Those skunks pass through camp to say hi. They have a distinctive odor that precedes their presence — a faint musk of burnt rubber tires. So whenever I smell it I know they’re nearby rootin’ around fer dinner.
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
Dad turns 81 today. I know he’s not too thrilled about that but it’s an amazing accomplishment to make it that far especially since surviving a heart attack a few years ago.
I remember as a child is he often took us out into nature. In the beginning it was his little boat and enduring love for the salty sea.
Then for a time we lived near the Rocky Mountains in Boulder. We’d go up the mountains in his Jeep, exploring and scrambling around for elusive nuggets of gold (and always finding fool’s gold instead).
Back in Florida he’d take us camping where we’d go swimming in the Myakka river, snorkeled for fossils & shark teeth the size of our hands, and soak in starry night skies highlighted by campfires.
There was also that wondrous year where he turned our Dodge van into a camper and we lived like gypsies traveling the country many decades before that van-life thing became a thing.
Me, Dad and sister Nicole (w/mom taking photo)
Through all these different experiences he instilled deep in us an enduring love for nature. It’s something I cherish because it is in my blood and the root of who I am today, a forever wanderer.
Sometimes I wish I could rewind the clock on Dad’s biology so he could join me on parts of this nomadic journey I’ve been on. He’d very much enjoy it.
I do know he’s there in spirit as he follows along via these very words you are reading so that’ll do.
Hi Dad! Lots of love to you and thank you.
I’ve been hiking to a natural overlook about a half-mile from camp that juts high above the shoreline.
With a wide vista, it’s perfect to catch sunsets each night and watch what looks like miniature boats slicing around from afar.
There’s also a major shipping lane on the way to a nearby dam. Many evenings I see brightly lit tugboats push laden barges that stretch forever. How these tugboats keep their behemoths under control — like a mouse pushing a bull — is a mystery to me.
Like clockwork a bald eagle zooms over, always around the same time each evening I’ve been here. Going home to its forever mate after a day’s work, perhaps?
A rave of ravens swirl lazily above, milking thermals all they can.
I look off to the side of the overlook where the trail passes through and see darkness thickening. The curtain is falling and I must go before I end up banging into trees and tripping over stones.
On the way back there’s just enough dim light to glimpse a tiny field mouse hop across the path. It sees me and hides under a large leaf thinking it is now invisible. Ha! Cuteness abounds.
Fireflies seem to be guiding the way. I flash the tiny light on my watch in unity, grateful to see them.
Flashlights flicker across the cove from a couple fishing on the beach. I’m wishing I had a recording of a ferocious howl mimicking a Sasquatch to blast their way and watch ’em freak. Maybe next time?
Just before I emerge from the trail I turn to whisper a goodnight and blow a tender kiss to all beloved in the woods.
View from overlook at Land Between the Lakes
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
This morning I’m on the move around camp after a night of rain, draining remnants of it off the awning then bouncing off leaves and detritus shaken free by the wind.
I sweep the “porch” for more removal of same and bring things back outside from inside the camper. The ones left out I hang in the sun for drying.
I refill the water jug for brewing coffee and breakfast (ayup - protein powder and oatmeal again — too lazy to go to the grocery store yesterday).
Finally I sit on the “porch” and realize my mind is still running around with thoughts of things to do.
I take a deep breath, exhale and consciously downshift, slowing mind and body down into ease and peace.
I take a long, slow sip of my beloved coffee, let out an equally long aaaahhhh and extend peace to you too, dear friends.
I find my fountain pen running out of ink far more often now that I’m journaling in a written notebook. A good sign, yeh?
An easy and cheap way to refill fountain pens?
Buy a little bottle of ink and use a syringe to refill those disposable plastic ink cartridges (they usually have more capacity than the refillable ones too).
Works great and the ink quality from a bottle is better and lasts muchero longero.
Favorite fountain pens? Hmm…
I’ve tried the very popular (and quite more expensive) Lamy 2000 pen — it does write sublimely but since it was around $200 I was always afraid I’d lose it so I sent it back.
The Pilot Metropolitan writes just as smoothly and there’s way less guilt should it find legs and walk away. Besides I tend to be a frugal bastid and can’t justify spending Lamy 2000 kinda money on any pen.
Since when do houseflies bite? Ouch, geez. Pesky suckers. Time to hang another watery penny bag.
The Land Between the Lakes is also the Land With Roads to Nowhere and Land of Many Cemeteries.
I’ve been randomly exploring, following winding forest service roads throughout and just about all of them abruptly end on the fringes of shore or sometimes forgotten cemeteries planted long ago (hmm, adds new meaning to “dead-end” doesn’t it? Bad pun, I know).
A small handful of these roads happen to be long slivers of crumbling asphalt eaten away from decades of rain washing. Those are the most mysterious because they hint at what once was — civilization way out there since the Feds (Tennessee Valley Authority) bought up the entire place for a national park (and now national recreation area).
If one looks carefully down spurs off these forest roads one may spot faded foundations absent buildings and if you’re lucky you’ll come across rare remnants of actual crumbling structures overlooked during the TVA’s removal of all buildings when they acquired the land.
Like the little one-room catholic church built by German immigrants to the area in the 1800’s. Since restored as a memorial, it sits atop a cleaved hill wrapped in an old wooden picket fence at the end of a long, rough dirt road.
Take a short hike down the hill behind the church and you’ll see faint impressions of another long ago road taken over by trees. According to a map, this inaccessible road leads to another abandoned cemetery (I suppose I could slog through a few miles to it but it would be a very ticky thing to do).
St. Stephen Catholic Church on Land Between the Lakes
At the end of another of these long stretches to nowhere I’ve twice come across campsites seemingly abandoned in haste.
One was a crumbling, torn apart pop-up tent camper. No idea how it came to be or was left behind.
The other was more eerie — this was in one of the more remote dead-ends and I actually thought it was a live campsite where someone might have left for groceries.
It was a two room tent, a cooler and gallon container was sitting outside, raincoat hanging from a tree, shoes propped on a log.
But it felt dead.
So I came closer and then I could see the front tent flap wasn’t just open, it was torn and clothes ’n such were dragged out by curious animals over time. Towards the back it was crushed by a fallen limb post-haste.
By now it was clear this was abandoned and quickly. Again, no idea what happened to this once functional campsite.
Perhaps an emergency of some kind? Or maybe they got fed up with camping and said screw it (this spot is an overly hot location with swampy water and mosquitos galore)? Or… ghosts ran ’em out (all these cemeteries, right?).
Regardless, it’s another one of the mysteries of Land Between the Lakes.
Despite my best efforts to assassinate that pesky sucker (the housefly y’know) I have failed. So now it taunts by biting me while I try to meditate.
I meditatively resolve to invest in a proper flyswatter that will put me out of my misery.
A buff older gentleman with an equally old Jeep pulls up to the boat ramp. He and his tiny dog hop out (what is it with these mean looking dudes with little dogs?). He looks over and gestures, writing aren’t ya?
I nod, he nods and carries onto the beach.
Writing done, I walk over and compliment his Jeep - it’s built like a tank unlike those pavement princesses we see today.
It’s a ’70’s model he says, those were good times.
I agree, offering I was born in ’67.
’63! he exclaims. Unprompted he adds he used to motorcycle all the time.
You look like it, I laugh.
He smiles and says he lost an eye so no more biking, hence the open air Jeep.
I was also a fighter pilot he adds.
Wow I say — I bet you have of a lot of stories to tell.
He says he lives nearby and I ask if it gets cold here in winter. He gestures, this Cumberland river here froze not too long ago.
This huge river? Holy crap I say.
We bump fists and part ways.
What a short and strange and wonderful interaction.
Mission set — large flyswatter purchased; I’m armed and ready to go. Next: the kill.
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
Last night a group of campers came in together and settled in across the way - a couple tents …and two separate campfires.
That was puzzling.
Wouldn’t one communal fire bring all together into the night?
Caught myself from pouring coffee into my bowl of oatmeal this morning. I’ve done many a strange thing in these mornings.
It’s fascinating how brains can be scrambled after waking up.
(I’m shocked my morning writings aren’t word soup, too. Maybe they are and I’m clueless to it?)
That smell from the river? It’s back. Nose wrinkles.
Lip-reading is exhausting. After a couple hours of it I’m done for the day, battery depleted.
For those curious, lip-reading is very much akin to puzzle solving in real-time on the fly as the “information” streams in.
Even for the best lip-readers there’s missing gaps to fill in between words and sentences silently uttered.
So not only does one’s eyes work in overtime to decipher what sound-less lips are saying, the brain puffs invisible smoke out the ears to process and clunk the incoming information into something mostly (and not always) coherent.
Word of advice when speaking with lip-readers: Don’t alter or slow down or exaggerate your lips or speech unless asked to.
It’s way harder to understand altered motions and cadence (and frankly, annoying too).
When I looked up while walking down to the boat ramp, a lanky young gal - perhaps of middle school age? - smiled so big her entire face lit up and what a beacon of joy it was! I returned the favor with a grin and a wave.
Those unexpected kind of smiles are the best, aren’t they?
I wish upon our world more of these for all of us.
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
This morning drinking my coffee and soaking in beauty all around I detect a long, solitary filament of cobweb trailing in the breeze.
I wonder why there, on the awning pole of all places? And what is its purpose in that moment in the grand scheme of nature’s machinations?
Will a butterfly in Costa Rica snare itself in a spider web down there if I brush away this stray thread?
Best to leave it alone, methinks.
Yesterday evening my spidey sense nudged:
But I was going to go when the sun sets like I usually do?
When it summons, gotta listen, right?
So I go, pushing the kayak into the water, paddling wherever she takes me.
I go into the coves most empty of Labor Day boaters, find a creek and glide up it as far as I can and see deer drinking from it. They look up and ignore me since all is quiet - no motor grinding away.
Floating in the shallows I feel as if I’m one of them, being so close. Then the kayak brushes a submerged rock and the deer melt into woods in a leaping bound.
Such amazing grace.
I turn and paddle around to another cove. So many birds - white egrets, blue herons, hawks and king fishers. A taste of Florida again.
Then another cove, more remote. I come across a pair of kayakers camped on the pebbly beach, campfire dancing.
What a most perfect camping spot! I say as I slow by.
Oh yes! No more dealing with loud campers and music going all night she exclaims, grinning.
Oh! I’m deaf so that stuff doesn’t bother me, I say.
I wish ’em happy camping and continue into the cove.
This gliding through still waters is pure meditation, slicing through thoughts.
I round a bend and lo! I’m startled at a most unexpected sight of two big otters munching a shared fish on the shore. They too, are startled at someone intruding this far.
Yet dinner seems more important so they carry on with a wary eye on me.
I turn and paddle away to leave them in peace. By now the sun has set, pink curtains falling into place. Time to head back to camp.
Back in open waters I surf through waves from fast and big boats afar, riding a fun roller coaster. I spot huge Copi (Asian Carp) cresting the surface nearby. At that size they almost look like dolphins and surprise me.
Just as I reach calmer waters near camp, a magnificent bald eagle soars over, disappearing into tree tops ahead. Peace brother, I gesture.
As I scrunch onto my campsite’s beach, a watery snake ziggles onto shore, headed home just as I am.
Full stop and deep exhale, I thank my spidey sense and Mother Nature for immersion into a magical land of life and beauty.
Took a trip to the Woodlands Nature Center in Land Between the Lakes to see their repertoire of widlife - bobcat, wolf, coyotes, deer and several of the winged kind.
Upon entering and seeing cages I abruptly remember why I avoid these sort of places and zoos, etc.
The facility itself was very well kept and entirely shaded in the woods. The animals healthy and well-fed. The rangers kind and informative. All in all, a very nice place.
What deflated me was seeing these beautiful creatures in cages as their home. And majestic birds leashed to branches so they couldn’t fly away.
The red wolf mindlessly plodding around the perimeter fence, the coyote hiding in her little roofed doghouse, owls staring off in space and a pair of bald eagles with a net as their sky, unable to soar with their souls.
They all may be healthy but their spirits seem dulled and I feel it.
This is why I can’t visit these places as a free spirit seeing other free spirits trapped within.
Granted, some of these are rescued animals. If they are rehabbed and released, wonderful. To save and breed those endangered? Understood.
Otherwise to keep their souls bound within seems contrary to the spiritual nature of these creatures and Mother Nature herself.
It is human nature to impose our values upon wild creatures and to assume they’d want to live by our ways.
Would you rather be free to die or be jailed to live?
That nasty smell in the Cumberland has slunk away on this cooler evening — seems it’s the heat that brings it out?
Whether the cause, I took a rare opportunity to strip nekkid and wade slowly into the river for a soothing bath (with natural and biodegradable soap, of course).
Scrubbing done, I loitered longer in her coolness, watching ripples glistening in moonlight and twinkles from above.
I must say there is nothing more freeing than a naked tryst with Mother Nature.
That fondness I have for skinny dipping? It began when I was just a few years old and I’d sneak over to the Fain’s swimming pool next door for a quick naked swim when I was supposed to be in bed.
I still remember how amazing it felt as a child to swim in the night in bare skin, feeling one with all that is. And getting away with it.
That trend continued into my teens when I and friends would quietly sneak into random folks pools in the wee hours of the night.
Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky
A momma and her son have been camping on an island across from where I’m camped. Their dog too, who could wander freely without getting lost.
At night I’d see the faint glow of a flickering campfire on their island from across the water.
This morning they loaded up their kayaks and paddled back over to the boat ramp near me. I strolled over and they tell me it’s a ritual of theirs to camp on the island and it was their retreat during the COVID shutdown.
What an amazing, wonderful idea! To have one’s own island paradise to camp on yet not too far from civilization.
I could tell the island worked its magic on her — she was blissed out with nary a worry on her soul in the moment. And her young son has stories to tell of adventures as a pirate burying pretend gold over yonder.
Looks like Mom is coming back to Florida for a few weeks. I’ll be changing course and swing back around to spend time with her.
I’ve always cherished those brief shining moments with her — they’re even more precious now what with her memory fading into silence.
The thing about camping life is one needs to keep the inside of their camper as clean as possible otherwise uninvited guests will end up making it their home too.
Ants, roaches, spiders, flies, rodents and the like (even small snakes!) all have a special affinity for campers as I’ve learned over the years.
As my parents can testify I’ve never been a meticulous cleaner nor neat about things. Living in a camper has (mostly) forced a change in that life long un-habit.
I say “mostly” because I’ll have lazy moments where I’ll let things go for awhile and I’ve been able to get away with it (mostly, haw!). The exception is food — it has to be cleaned up as soon as possible or it’s pretext for an invasion from outside.
Speaking of invasions, I’ve also learned by fire that it’s important to check where my camper’s wheels (or anything touching ground) end up at a campsite.
Why? Those pernicious ants.
Roll over and dock on top of a mound and pay a rapidly swarming price..
That lesson was learned in my first year camped in Savannah (Georgia) when I came back a few hours later from a hike to witness the horror of millions of fiery red ants en masse all over my camper.
Which reminds me of another insectious moment a few years later when I was camped at Potts Preserve (Inverness, Florida). I had the issue of no-see-ums feasting on me while I was trying to sleep. Turns out the mesh in my camper’s window screens was wide enough for ’em to sneak through.
The next day I had what I thought was clever idea to pop the screens off and spray them with Deet. Yet it didn’t work for some reason and it was smelly. Ugh.
It hit me to try the Permethrin spray I keep for spraying clothing for longer term protection from bugs.
That did the trick and it only needs to be refreshed every few days.
Yet another tip for you fellow campers out there!
I did something normal and drove over to Grand Rivers in Kentucky to check out their annual Fall arts festival.
It was a different kind of fun, taking me back to those Spring arts festivals I love in Florida. Spritely little kids cartwheeling through in painted faces (some buried in cotton candy). Mostly smiling people milling about, a few pushing pampered dogs in strollers and all sorts of booths hawking their wares.
Atypically of the festivals in Florida, there was no fine art or anything of the sort which I missed.
Still, people watching and good local BBQ made up for it.
After a couple of hours I was thoroughly wiped out. With bleary eyes I return back to my beloved people-less cradle of peace & serenity in nature and swoon into my hammock for a blissful recovery nap.
Mother nature tends to be shy at first.
It is when I’ve dwelled somewhere long enough — a week at least — that she begins to sing, revealing her beauty in subtle ways.
I wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t still enough.
It’s in those tiny, slow moments where she unfurls secrets that tease the stirrings of my heart.
Like seeing the wry smile of an alluring gypsy goddess, I fall in love all over again.
And then I never want to leave.
Reflections of a hidden pond in Land Between the Lakes
The cafe owner of Dog House back in Celina, Tennessee suggested that I mix in a bit of chai tea with a cup of coffee for a nice surprise.
Tried it this evening. Pow! It adds a really nice punch to the java, especially in the aftertaste.
Try it. I think you’ll like it.
Land Between the Lakes
(Note: I’m back in Gainesville for a bit visiting family then it’s out west I go. I’m using this downtime as a chance to catch up on journal entries from my written notebook.)
In the nascent stages of a past relationship a great love of mine would, in spur of the moment, reveal a raw truth about her. She did this often - not to shock but to see if I’d run.
Her unvarnished rawness was a revelation to me because growing up deaf in a hearing world I used to hide behind insecurities and half-truths in my eternal quest for love and acceptance.
Walking through her fire showed me it was okay reveal myself in the full glory of who I am, owning my own truths and to be accepted for it.
Crossed paths with a pair of hikers going the opposite way on a trail and I warned them of a “big arse bear back there!” Their eyes pop out and they halt mid-stride with “Wait, what?!”
It never fails. I laugh and they laugh because there’s no bears in this area.
(And no, I don’t do this in areas where there are bears.)
I’ve noticed in dispersed or primitive camping area that campers of a like feather tend to congregate in reflection of American society.
Like here at Nickell Branch campground — those with older campers or car-camping are on the less developed side of the campground while on the other side there are the newer, more upscale campers/vehicles.
Most often it is in the former where folks are more welcoming and have stories to share, like a brotherhood of sorts. And these car-campers? They’re the bravest souls out there with their entire lives wrapped inside small metal.
I weave between all souls although my preference is amongst us more mere mortals.
Took a little trip further south on Land Between the Lakes to visit what’s called Homeplace, a working farm based on the 1850’s.
It was a wonderful step back in time to what it was really like in the area during that time.
Old mule barn at Homeplace in Land Between the Lakes
But most memorable was seeing a little girl drop her ice cream, splattering on the ground and over her legs. Eyes and mouth agape, she stared at the devastation below then melted into a wail of tears.
While dad cleaned her up and consoled her, I snuck over to the ice cream lady, bought a fresh new cone and quietly brought it over to her.
Tears halted, she stares, unsure what to do or what to make of it. Dad tells her it’s okay to accept and expresses profuse thanks. Happiness rescued, I nod with a smile and fade into the woods.
Seeing that little girl brought back memories of my own baby girl, Alyssa. She was an absolute delight at that age and brought so much joy into our lives.
She still does and our love for each other forever outlasts countless spilled ice creams.
When swimming in the Cumberland river here, I keep getting a noxious whiff of something odorous - almost chemically/chlorine-y smelling mixed in with a faint smell of dead fish.
My nose can’t quite pin down exactly what those smells stem from. I can see folks are clearly enjoying the waters here swimming, diving into it, etc. so it doesn’t seem to bother ’em.
Maybe it’s because my nose-sense is stronger due to the loss of hearing?
I do know the river here is a major commerce route what with all manner of tugboats pushing barges the length of football fields and tankers cruising by frequently.
Either way I won’t be swimming here again. When the nose wrinkles, I listen.
At sunset I love watching trees on the horizon ever so slowly darken as the sun sinks away opposite.
It’s like watching a huge orange-tinted spotlight crawl upwards, moving light away from the trees onto a coming moon.