Things We’ve Seen Before – and Things You’ll Never See

Dearest Rachel –

It’s Thursday morning. Our last full day here in Tennessee. And I must admit, I’ve been a little lax. Haven’t done any walking to speak of this whole week.

I’d like to excuse myself, because of the lack of reason. No destination, and no companion – human or canine – leads to no motivation. when there is no way to go, and no one to go with, one loses the desire to go at all.

So while it might be a gross exaggeration to say that Erin took me to task last night after the Bible study, there’s no doubt that she lit a bit of fire underneath me. And so here I am, walking into and around the park, and further into the subdivision than I think we ever did, just to say I did it.

And yes, I did write about the park the other day. But that was when I had Chompers out in the lawn, and didn’t want to wander too far. Just far enough in that I could get a few good shots, and then back out to finish my letter to you.

So today, once he’s been fed, watered, let out, and was comfortable and trying to sleep inside, I asked Kevin if he would mind if I were to head out. He was fine with it.

I actually did ask him if he would or could walk, because once upon a time that used to be part and parcel of his job. But these days he’s dealing with anemia and arthritis, and doesn’t consider himself in sufficient condition to walk for any length of time. He allowed it might do him some good, but the distances I had in mind were probably a bit much.

So I had it off into the familiar part of the park:

I don’t know if you can see the building behind those trees. That was under construction when we were here in November, and we wondered what it was.
I don’t think this staircase was here back then, though.

So now, since there is an access way, I decided to follow it. If I remember correctly, I think we thought it was going to be a hotel of some sort.

Not quite.

Well, now that I had satisfied my curiosity about this, I needed to find my way around and out of this area. The recreational area that we pass on our way into the subdivision had to be around here somewhere.

And sure enough, there it was. I’d found the back way in, essentially.

You may recall my talking about how certain places have a scent to them. In particular you remember Tallinn, with its aroma of fresh cut timber. Well, here and now was laden with the scent of recent rainfall, that made everything smell just a little bit like the island that you held so dear. There were also the pine trees that line the road going into the park, and… paint?

Yes, I think so. I don’t know if these houses are new, but it certainly smells like they’re getting a new paint job.

Eventually, the road I was on emptied onto Boyd Mill Road, the one that we take to get to Kevin’s subdivision – and the one that I always consider to be like a driveway as soon as we turn off of State Road 95.

I can’t tell you how many times, when we were coming in late at night, that I’ve made the mistake of turning in between those two streetlights, only to realize shortly thereafter that the real entrance was a little further on, where that car is waiting to turn out from.

I suppose you can tell by all the photos that it wasn’t the most vigorous of walks. But I’d never gone this far – we’d never gone this far – and I figured I’d write it all down this time around. Yes, we see all these sites when we drive-in every year. And of course, there will probably be another time when we will again. But didn’t we also think that way back in November?

There’s still so much more park, even beyond the entrance to the subdivision.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

You know, when Robert Frost wrote that, he didn’t indicate whether taking “the road less traveled by” was an improvement or not. He just said it “made all the difference.” The difference it made for me was to basically get me hopelessly lost.

I mean, there are some interesting things. I don’t know of any place in any of our suburbs where you’d find a historical monument or marker.
And who doesn’t like having a park in their backyard?
But everywhere you go, there’s a dead end.
At least where we live, they have “No Outlet” signs.
I get that everyone wants to live in a cul-de-sac, but come ON!

Eventually, there was nothing for it for me, but to just turn around and come back the way I came. And so, after an hour and a half walking about half lost, here I am recapping everything.

It wasn’t a complete washout though. I think you remember this dog. We met him maybe two or three years ago.
Don’t like the look on his face fool you. He’s friendly as he is big. And he was just looking for treats in my hip pocket.

I wish you had been there to greet him, honey. You might’ve remembered his name. As it is, all I could think to call him was Tadakichi-san, because he was probably big enough for a little kid to ride – I think we made that observation when we first saw him back then.

So, that’s the story of the walkabout. At least I got one in this week. Didn’t go anywhere, but I got a letter out of it. And a memory.

I just wish you had been there for it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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