Vagabond TreK: Crossing Carolina into Tennessee Time

Lost in the woods.  I am lost in the narrow space between the forests as the highway winds crisscrossing through Appalachia in the ethereal glow of the Blue Ridge.  My heart races in a beat of praise in awe of the peace and beauty of the mountains surrounding me as I travel the bottleneck of I-40 between Asheville and Knoxville.  I need mountains to breathe, to live, to explore – the mountains have always been a part of my intrinsic fabric.  The last time I stepped foot in the Blue Ridge Mountains was exactly a year ago.  I was on my final flight from a hectic cross-country move from Bozeman Montana to Raleigh NC.  Now I’m retracing my steps finishing the final note of that travel symphony undone.  When I left Nashville in 2009 I feverishly dumped all of my belongings in a storage unit and hit the highway looking for a new adventure in the midst of the worst of the economic recession.  I have paid a monthly fee for years to keep the unit – determined to hold onto remnants of the past – I crammed life into that unit and it has been holding me back.  It is time to let go, LET GOD and redirect my course to the future.

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The weather radiated pure perfection as we meandered through the mystery of the mountains.  The deciduous trees still stalk the horizon with stark barrenness – the buds still waiting the rising sun of the warmth of spring – it takes longer for the whistle of life to play its tunes at nearly 6,000 feet.  I released my worries, fears and allowed the mountains to strengthen my endurance – each mile I found hope in the miracle of nature.

It seems fitting that on Good Friday I am releasing the burden of the past and taking steps to chart a new course.  I won’t go into the details regarding the storage unit and my life left abandoned for five years within its narrow thin walls.  It is mostly a tale of betrayal, solitude and heartache – we all endure desert times – in the desert times we try to grasp hold of anything left of sentimental attachment – we search for answers in mementos – when they are pieces of a broken path.  If a path is blocked, you need to change course and it is never too late to change course.

God has pushed me to the edge to force me to face down these ghosts.  I can fight with the demons of the past or look to God to lead me on a better path. I chose to walk the path of light instead of the darkness of the past.

As I battled with my past memories, moving closer to Nashville where I’ll leave what I started behind, cutting cords – the sky lit up in a flare of fantastical bolts of thunderous lightning…the rain unleashed like a war of the ‘gods’ – the wind like a hurricane so strong I nearly slid off the interstate.  I said a prayer ‘Calm this STORM’ and the storm took a brief respite, long enough for me to pull over at a gas station and allow the next crash of collapsing sky to pound the ground like the first day Noah got into his Ark.  I breathed in and let it fall – the pain washing away, the fears wrapped up in the storm.  The chaos of the lightning and wind mirroring the inner conflict inside of me – I let go and release it into the wild.

It took all my courage to keep driving in the semi flooding kick slap beat down of the wind and friction of electricity.  The rain pounded harder than an iron slamming a nail – intense and unrelenting.

With no access to a weather report I stopped in a gas station and prayed for safe travel as I used my iron age phone (trust me my phone is not smart it is an iron clad relic) to barely check the weather – only to find out we were in the midst of a Tornado Watch.  Chills ran down my spine realizing how lucky I was to be safe coming out of a cyclone like wind.  Somehow things don’t matter when you are in a life or death situation.  You see life as a beautiful gift from GOD and release the pain – determined to live.

Sitting in the car looking at the rain through the windshield it is like a harsh impressionist painting – even in the chaos there is color, in the fire burst of lightning the darkness is broken.

We got into a rhythm of driving ten miles in between bursts of heavy rain before stopping for a respite during the next flash of devouring precipitation.  We finally reached clear skies near Crossville – the moon illuminating I-40 with an angelic glow – a peace out of the storm.

I am GRATEFUL to God that I survived the dangerous rains unscathed.  The first time in Nashville I let fear chart my course.  This time I’m learning to take the reins and LET GOD

Starving after an eleven hour drive from Raleigh NC to Nashville TN I stopped at my favorite restaurant in the world -SATCO this is a meal 5 years in the making.  San Antonio Taco Company may not seem like much – but it is the best Tex-Mex fare in the city and Nashville is home to in my humble opinion the greatest Mexican restaurants in the world.  Nashville is a foodie town with cuisines catering from Food Truck to Five Star Treat – I love the diverse mix of ethnic and regional foods in Music City.

Stay posted for my next blog as I delve into the heart of Nashville including SATCO and other Music City favorites

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