Bad bloggers unite! I have some requests for pictures, and I mean to oblige.
Yes, I have ruminations on the new year, new decade. I have some adventures to share from the month since I last posted. We have had some lovely homey holidays with the people we love most. I will tell you about all those later. Or not. Maybe 2010 will be all about the present. For now, I will just share some pictures from our New Year's weekend with Ella and Will. This was
our fourth new year celebrated together, and the first one that we had snow!
This is our third snow of the year! Can you see the roofline
behind the big tree? That is our house.
Eli is impressed. And waiting for his dogs to return.
Burly mountain men.
Who knew burly men could sing? I believe this was "I Will Run After You" by Frank Black
Again, very impressed.
Eich men love down.
He sort of looks like a puffy little baby robot to me. I can't explain it.
at Joyce Kilmer
You'd never guess they are freezing their patooties off, would you?
It's a long way back to that Costa Rican sunshine!
I am sure this was not the first frost for our mountains this year, but it was the first one that I got to revel in. The dogs needed some leg stretching, so we wandered up and down our mountain for a bit and enjoyed the ice-edged woods.
Bryce has ordered a full-body down bubble for the boy, but until it comes, I just wrap him in a puffy jacket and plop him into the backpack. He was warm enough to fall asleep, which was lovely since we are in a weaning, condensing and decreasing nap-purgatory these days.
But I have hope for the days ahead, even if they will be mostly filled with me, this little guy and our frosty perch above the world (because, seriously, I don't think we could leave if there were any REAL ice on our roads... time to stockpile!)
Oh, my. Why do I (not ever) blog? I thought I would do it more now that we have moved and I have a surplus of downtime... but I think I packed my downtime in one of these boxes and haven't come across it yet. And I never download pictures... which is probably the real reason.
In any case... we are here! We have started the Eichelventure of North Carolina. Robbinsville, NC, to be exact. Yes, of course you have heard of Robbinsville... it is the home of the Tail of the Dragon for you motorcyclists, it is sandwiched between 2 beautiful lakes and the AT, and most importantly, it is where Nell was filmed and where this scene from my Dad's all-time favorite movie was shot (you should wait for the inappropriate soundtrack for that clip... who does these things?).
Robbinsville, population 2,oo0 (8,000 in the whole county). There is no hospital in Graham County (which is why Bryce gets to work in an ER in a primary care clinic here- nice), no Wal-mart, no coffee shop... and only a smattering of traffic lights (maybe 5? 8?). We DO have a good grocery store and a mexican restaurant, thank God! What I have been surprised by since arriving is that this lifestyle is not such a huge adjustment. Raised in a small town, I think I have basically lived like a small-town girl in every city where we have lived. We eat at the same couple of restaurants instead of always looking for the new best thing. We go out to concerts, shows, museums only sporadically (and Asheville is only 1.5 hours away). We walk, we bike, we cook, we have friends over. The only thing lacking here is sidewalks... and friends! Well, and a place to meet up with these friends when I don't want to clean my house...
There have been some aspects of life here that are seem refreshing to me, and totally natural. We went to a Halloween festival at the local high school (which is the center of the community- same as Dickson). As we drove away, Bryce commented that no high school in Atlanta would have ever hosted an event for families and small kids. That is just not what high schools are for... in the city. Weird. I also now remember why we spent all of our time in high school "driving around" as a destination in and of itself. Come to think about it, that is how Bryce and I spent the majority of our dating time in Rome, Ga. That and walking, lots of walking, which is another post for another day. Baby and I have some driving and hiking to do today!
So, as I am processing our impending move, I am thinking through things we love about la vida Nashville. One thing is how easy it is to get to a good hike- even inside the Davidson County limits. So, here are the go-to getaways, all within an hour (or at least really close):
This is our usual destination. It is north of town, an area we are so intrigued in. We would love to own land up there some day, but for now, we will get our hiking fix at this new park. Last year, the trails weren't even finished, but now there are more all the time. And fun creeks for the dogs to play in. There aren't many people up there, so you don't feel too bad letting the dogs off the leash. We hiked there when it snowed in January, there is always more ice up on the ridges north of Nashville.
If only there was some way to count the number of Eichelsteps that have fallen here, especially with Bryce's running! If he is going farther than a couple of miles (and I have no idea when Bryce has only run 2 miles), he usually heads this direction and traces every inch of blacktop and some mudtop! We have walked, run, biked and carried a baby in a sling all over that place. We love getting all the way back to the pedestrian bridge. It is a beautiful view of the river and you can cross over to Wave Country and watch kids try to break their necks at the skate park there. We rode bikes over there when I was 6 months pregnant, which I don't recommend on a mountain bike. I kneed my belly with every pedal! Seriously, though, if I had a book of every lovely conversation I have had with friends in this park, I could re-read it monthly and have a perpetually warm heart.
Best Spandex and Range Rovers: Percy Warner Park
We hardly ever get out there these days, but we have run there to train for hilly races. There are so many people, but you really do feel out there once you get back in the woods, even though you are in the bellest of the Belle Meade!
I have no objectivity on this one, since I grew up a couple of miles away and caught crawdads in the creeks, and dirtied my bum on many a trail, but this is a great little park to get lost in. Beautiful lakes, historical stuff, great trails (even a couple of overnight ones) and the site of our wedding (just past the stone church in Church Hollow.) I really do love this place. If you drive there from Nashville, take the scenic route by getting off the interstate Bellevue and heading west on 70. You can stop at the Narrows of the Harpeth for a little swimmin' (or canoeing!... but that is a different favorites list) and eat at Carl's Perfect Pig in White Bluff for some barbecue.
It's a bit of a drive to near Monteagle, but you can be hiking in an hour and feel like you are in a different world. It is always a couple of degrees cooler back in those moss-covered ravines and there are so many good little swimming holes. We have driven there so many times, and also love to stop there on our way back from trips farther afield (like Atlanta). Also, the Stuckeys on the way back is my favorite truck stop ever and has great bathrooms, goo-goo clusters and chocolate malts.
I realize that we will have even better access to hiking in Western NC (like the AT!), but the geography of middle TN has built my own inner topography. With this fall weather falling upon us (in between muggy rain showers), you should probably get out there now!
Bryce just told me that he has to go run for 2 hrs because he has to go all the way back to the spot in Shelby Bottoms where he left his shirt and hat a few days ago on a run. I just thought that was funny.
And, yes, that's right. His hat does say "Mr. Squirrel" on it. How does he expect them to resist? If a squirrel left a t-shirt in your house that had your name on it, wouldn't you wear it?
Our littlest squirrel has not left any of his clothes in the woods.
Oh little man, you are one today. I don't think I could have predicted how much fun I was going to have with this Eli adventure.
I think you seem older today, too. You are so close to walking. You can wave and clap and feed yourself. You are saying "no" and meaning it. Every time you see a dog, or hear a dog bark (or see a cat...) you say "dog, dog, dog." It sounds alot like "Da-da," but he is not offended. Actually, I think you speak in full sentences (and you seem to think so, too)- I just can't understand them, yet. You point at what you want, and try so hard to communicate. You also point to the sky constantly... I haven't figured out what that is about.
Looking back at pictures of you, it is hard to remember that you were ever that small, that skinny, and that... still. I know the days ahead are only going to get faster and messier, but I can't wait to see what you have up those tiny little sleeves for us!