I looked at my husband out of the corner of my eye.
“Will we be going through Tennessee?”
Jeff’s smile began to creep.
“We will be spending our first night in Tennessee.”
I had my suspicions, but the moment of truth was so very sweet.
We will be chasing ghosts this week. We are following the trail of the very first road-trip we ever took together. The first one occurred seventeen years ago when I was a wide-eyed graduate student, and Jeff…well, Jeff was still my professor.
We took the very same trip over and over again the first years of our marriage. But these wanderings came to a screeching halt when baby number one came along. After all, New Orleans isn’t the best family vacation destination.
We would have a lot of miles under our tires before it was through, so I settled in to enjoy the ride.
For us, the drive has always been part of the adventure. The feel of the road underneath, the music, and the lay of the land fold up into me and deepen places inside—whispering stories of change.
It seems fitting that the start of my fourth decade should be marked with a journey. It surly has been such so far…so many lives lived in this one.
Soon, my eyes were filled with the rolling hills of Kentucky horseland and the lush greens of Tennessee. I sit and watch the landscape turn outside my window—from budding trees to the lush greens of unfolded leaves the further south we go.
The red bud is an early arrival, sprinkling hillsides in Kentucky and Tennessee with glimpses of pinky purple joy. The dogwood appears in Alabama and everything starts to flower. Unfurling leaves look like florets waiting to present themselves. The yellow green of the poplars remind me of home, and I smile.
And these pines…not White pine, but another more narrow, long-needled variety that holds hers in branchy handfuls. She has smaller cones and starry yellow seed pods that even give her dress the appearance of flowering. I ponder, search for her name, and resolve that this will be my summer project with the boys—to learn the names of our trees.
We are welcomed into Mississippi by those genteel sentinels, the Magnolias. Their shiny leaves like dress attire…grooms waiting for their flowering brides. Tangles of that invasive weed, wisps of lavender wisteria delight—it’s clusters hanging heavy like a little girl’s pigtails. The air in Mississippi is sweet with pipe smoke when we stop to take a break. Auspicious pines wave lazily in the breeze and for a moment I feel like time has paused just for me.
We arrive in New Orleans in the afternoon and while away the time wandering, visiting familiar haunts…chasing these ghosts.
Late last night, we stumbled upon the back of Jackson’s Square. St. Louis’ cathedral towered about a diminutive sculpture of Jesus.
This is what we saw:
As if I needed reminded that my God is big.
Well, Dear Ones, we’re off to Café Du Monde for my birthday breakfast. A full day of delight awaits…
I’m a morning person and happiest in a place with no walls. Give me a bed of grass and a blanket-sky and I will dream deep in wonder. But a good story takes me to this place too. And a poem? Even better. You can always find me here. Or connect with me on on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.