I have a meeting to prep for, blogs to read, and hundreds of e-mails to answer.
604 e-mails, to be exact.
Sorry about that, y’all. Some of those are from you.
I’ve never let my inbox get that full before, and I’m putting it off for another night. Instead, I want to end a long day with a free write capture of my journey through downtown Nashville.
This is a city whose airport corridors ring with live music and hopeful terminal walkers–guitars and dreams in toe. I wrote most of this while I sat in a hotel bar and listened to a singer/songwriter open his arteries out into an audience buried in the noise of their own lives. His name was Dan Storm. “Like the weather,” he said when I asked him.
I am a fan of synchronicity and was tickled by his name given that one of my early pieces, Storm Chaser had been picked up earlier in day by Schuylkill Valley Journal. Like a spring rain, Mr. Storm’s voice was soulful, soothing, and healing after a long day.
He was talented, but probably felt like I do sometimes. An artist with a voice and a message that can get lost in a cataclysm filled with others who are louder, more assertive, and less shy.
And that’s okay.
The world needs people with a quieter tune; someone poised with a less obtrusive undertone and subtle presence to permeate spaces too small to fit everyone. His voice added to the melody of hum and hope in this city.
But before I had settled in to listen, I’d already had an entire adventure the hour before. After landing, I’d went for a run/walk through the off-downtown side of Nashville–my name for it. Not on music row, but close to the river, Titans stadium, and around the square–which was actually a circle!
I love the individual pulse of each city I visit, and I’m so fortunate to have a job that grants my wish to travel the country even though the curse is that I’m away from home.
This was one of those trips that I would have rather been at home, but I decided to skip the pity party and make the most of it. The weather was perfect–overcast but warm–and the voices of the city crooned with a chorus of departed commuters and thrummed with notes from wanderlust explorers like me.
Given a choice, I’d choose over nature trails over urban landscapes. But Nashville was calling and I needed to go!
I don’t know directions, or where I will end up during these adventures. And despite my best efforts to ditch the phone in the hotel room, common sense always wins and I take it just in case of wrong turns or the need to photograph flowers, bricks or doorways–or all three.
I’m still learning about Nashville, and like any city, there are cultures that color each corner. Much of the time, I’m confined to Brentwood which allows a trip to Radnor State Lake when I have time. But, overall, Brentwood is like most suburbs of a city–clean, vanilla, and a place to pass through to get to another.
Downtown, there are different experiences depending on if you turn left or right. In my case, the decision to do either was purely accidental. I’d intended to trek down to Music City and roll around in the Johnny Cash room before ending up in Elvis’ gold car. But the cadence of staccato footsteps and toppled bricks lured my writer’s brain to the allies, side streets, and spots down by the river. The vintage graphics along Printer’s Alley sucked me in, and I stayed within the two-mile perimeter outside my hotel.
According to my Fitbit, I traveled over 5000 steps and climbed a few floors in the process.
After the trip, I sat down in the hotel bar to listen to Dan, and munched on sweet potato fries. It was my way of being with others without having to talk to anyone. The glamorous life, right?
Just as inspiration was starting to leave with the day’s sun, he sang, You and Tequila and I had to stay for another set. I wrote my ramblings, listened to the buzz of the city, and felt my words set anchor as the music filled the spaces between.
Do you ever walk along strange cobblestone looking at streetlights and sidewalks and imagine the people and stories who have traced the steps before you?
Where do you explore? How do you search for what’s next? Who do you look to for answers?
Not all who wander are lost, right?
Given that I am more lost than found on any given Monday, I am blessed to have multiple compasses to find my true North. Or, in my case, a place to the west of here.
Throughout my walk, I SnapChatted with Tanna, helped Dane find Elmer’s glue via text, and commiserated with the hubs about the sinking Royals and what happens when you take a starving teenage son grocery shopping. Per usual, my adventure included wrong turns. But like life, the people I love helped me find the way.
This job? Some days I think it’s killing me. Other days, I’m grateful that it grants me the opportunities to explore places I would have never found.
Special thanks to Dan who let me fan-girl for two sets while I wrote. Be sure to check out him on his website and find him on Spotify. The playlist captures the songs he covered as well as a two of his originals.
The video? Well, I gotta tip my boots to Kenny every time I’m in Tennessee.