I woke up to the sound of Canadian geese complaining. Then I spent the next several minutes sleepily castigating myself for negatively anthropomorphizing birds. Surely they were honking or calling or murmuring. Then I woke up a little more and realized that it was still the middle of the night and those birds were definitely complaining. Not sure what they were complaining about — were they drifting in the water? Was some raccoon disturbing their slumber? But they stopped their complaining and I went back to sleep and eventually, when I woke up again, their noises were much more like daybreak murmurings.
I’m in Tennessee, currently at a Thousand Trails campground on the Natchez Trace. I was driving yesterday and remembering the last time I was in Tennessee. I thought then that the state would probably be really pretty in about two more weeks, in spring, but that at that moment, it was bleak and grey, trees all ugly spires of bare trunk with dead, hanging leaves that should have dropped months ago. When I reached my destination, I looked up the date I was last here — coincidentally, but not surprisingly, it was March 24th of last year. The exact same day.
And yeah, I think this state will probably be really pretty in two more weeks, but today, it is the epitome of March showers. Overcast, mildly foggy, everything looking gray. Not pretty, but lovely in a very Goth sort of way. The kind of lonely beauty that makes cups of tea seem highly desirable.
I was planning on spending more time here, but I think instead, I’m going to drift my way south. Or maybe west. But first things first: Z wants her walk.
I walked Zelda, got back to the van, and instead of making myself some coffee and starting the day, I packed up the van and got on the road. The campground was probably a perfectly nice place. But it’s the kind where people have annual memberships and leave their trailers at their sites year round. Stuff accumulates outside the trailers. Not necessarily bad stuff — potted plants and lights and chairs, golf carts and grills, holiday decorations and signs. But time and weather and entropy combine so quickly to turn pleasant vacation gear into shabby, run-down debris. It didn’t just feel like a trailer park, it felt like an abandoned trailer park. Half depressing and half spooky.
(The bathrooms, however, were excellent — clean and shiny new — and the view was terrific. I had a waterfront site with a lovely lake view. If the weather had been nicer, it might have been a perfectly nice place.)
So I got on the road and headed south, along the Natchez Trace. It’s a scenic highway along what was once a trail used by bison, Native Americans, and early settlers. At 8AM on a Sunday morning, I was pretty much alone on it and it was lovely. Absolutely peaceful and beautiful. I took a couple breaks along the way, went to a grocery store in Tupelo, Mississippi, and then found myself a campsite at Trace State Park.
I picked the park based on the fact that I like state parks, that I didn’t want to keep driving, and that the sun was showing through the clouds when I walked out of the grocery store. All excellent reasons, but it turns out that somewhere within this park is the birthplace of Davy Crockett. I’m sure there are reasons to disapprove of Davy Crockett these days, but the Disney song is running through my head. And I just read the wikipedia entry on him and he was the only representative from Tennessee to vote against the Indian Removal Act (aka Trail of Tears) and was thanked for it by a Cherokee chief, so yay. I will continue humming cheerfully.
And even though the sky has clouded up again, I feel much happier here. The lake is currently gone — undergoing renovations apparently — so my waterfront spot is really just a “looking out onto a grassy pit” spot, but it is peaceful and quiet. I remember — again from last year — sitting in a campground somewhere in the south and realizing that there are places where those noisy birdsong relaxation medleys that always sound so fake are actually real. This is one of those places. If it weren’t for the hum of the computer, the only sound I’d be able to hear would be the birds chirping and squeaking and whirring and making all those different mysterious sounds they make. Not complaining, though. They sound quite happy! (I could be projecting, though. 🙂 )