Last weekend marked three years in Nashville and if I’m being honest, most days it feels like it’s only been three days. So much changes in this city on a daily basis that there is a constant blur in the reflection. If I view my life as a book, I’ve wrote more chapters in Nashville than anywhere else, not necessarily by choice, it’s just the way it goes. Friends come and go, move in and move out, tie together and break apart and I’m still not used any of it. There is also the fact that this city works relentlessly (or talks about how they work relentlessly) and a lot of people are trying to figure out who they are and what they’re doing here, myself included. It’s a trying city, a city that seems like it’s going through puberty, but there are still times like last weekend.
Last weekend I found myself in a familiar area outside the city. Sunset turning black, I searched for the driveway of my destination. I couldn’t read the red mailbox’s faded numbers, but circling back around a few times resulted in the third time being the charm. Patchy service resulted in a cut off call. “I think I’m here but I can’t tell.” A morse code of light from the flashlight of my friend assured me that I in fact had found my way. We walked inside the large house and I was hit with a rich, smokey, wood stove smell, a smell I grew up with. In that single moment, I felt a surge of childhood memories and I knew that this is the type of house I wanted to one day live in. The house was hand-built by the owners and it’s rustic construction housed wall after wall of folk art, most of which was very rare and very, very valuable. I stood in awe of Howard Finster paintings while glancing over at a boar-skin rug, a rug I didn’t know I would end up passing out on later that night. I toured the house, sipping on some familiar whiskey, still in awe of how much it felt like home (even though physically, my home is so different). We finished up at the house by looking at the home-brew shed and then made our way through dark, curved roads into the small renown town of Leiper’s Fork. We pulled up to Puckett’s Grocery to find a sea of people enjoying their Friday night with friends and beverages. Around the corner, there was a movie playing in a field and the rest of the town sat in lawn chairs and on blankets beneath a star filled sky. There is so much light pollution in Nashville, I forget what it’s like to be lit up by the stars alone. Some familiar faces showed up and pleasantries exchanged. We laughed and told stories and kept the good times flowing. We made our way to the river, to wash our cares away. Flashlights dancing across the water, we shed our clothes and dove below. Laughter and smiles, we were free. We ran naked through the fields and danced beneath the stars, friendships tied tight around our hearts. I have never been very comfortable with my body and a religious upbringing left me with shame of nakedness, but not tonight. There was joy as we unknowingly reenacted the “Gobbledigook” (a Sigur Ros song) music video, which contained a naked group of friends running through the woods. In those moments, I have never felt so alive, so free to be myself and let go of all reservations.
Part II soon.