Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Freedom to be Crazy

Crazy arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

The nondescript envelope was addressed to "Resident." My mom suggested I throw it away but I could not contain my curiosity. What's in it? I tore the envelope along the side edge, careful not to damage the contents. I pulled out a brochure.

This was no ordinary brochure. The title, "Favored Races" and the subtitle, "What if they had integrated?"immediately caught my attention. What is it? And do I see what I think I see? Yes. Upon reading the document a little more thoroughly, I discovered that it was a racist piece of propaganda sent by what appeared to be a local individual desiring to run for the Tennessee House of Representatives. Specifically, the political platforms outlined included discussions about how certain races were superior to other races and allowing for lesser "favored races" to breed with "favored races" would "have a more devastating effect on civilization than nuclear bombs." Specifically, the argument attacked Mexican immigration. Wait for it:

"Mexican immigrants are weapons of mass destruction." No joke. That's what the brochure claims.

It continues, "The Mexican immigrants are good workers and add to our economy you say. What did they add to the Mexican economy?" The ridiculousness of these and other statements removed my ability to be angry at this person (a Mr. James Hart, although his website does not work, surprise surprise). I should be angry at the racism, and maybe even compassionate at the stupidity, but ultimately I laughed at the sheer notion of the entire event. How did this individual make enough money to even get his ideas printed, much less be able to run for any level of public office in these States United in the 21st Century? His crazy completely removed the validity of his arguments. Sorry, dude.

While reading aloud some of the statements of this "candidate's" platform, my mom asked if it was even legal (I am sure the racist severity was making her uncomfortable... as it should). Yes. Crazy is allowed to say what he (or she) wants to in these States United (cue Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American"). In fact, this type of speech needs to be protected, as crazy or stupid or mean as it may be. That's part of being an American- having rights to use our words (or our brochures) to say inspirational things, to challenge mainstream ideas, to push innovation, or even to propagate stupidity.

God Bless the U.S.A. (Yes, I sang that part. Loud.).

With my blood pumping red, white, and blue this afternoon, I will take to the polls and exercise one of my most treasured rights as an American citizen. And while I tend to keep my political opinions to myself, I can honestly share that I will not be voting for Crazy.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

smiles are humanity's sunshine

I wonder if people realize the power of encouragement? The force of a kind word can make a heart soar. I often forget. I know I think of kind things about others, but I don't always say them. I need to vocalize those thoughts more often.

This past weekend I had a chance to go back to Stones River National Battlefield and see a number of people I haven't seen in what felt like forever (yes, yes, I only visited there like two months ago). Since so much has changed in my life in such a short time, I felt like I was visiting the place as a different person and I wondered how people would respond to my recent life-changes (especially since most people there were used to seeing me in the green and grey).

All I received was positivity and encouragement from people I talked to. I felt especially encouraged when some people I greatly respect said nice and encouraging things. Often, those words were practically in passing while conversing about a variety of topics, but their kindness meant the world to me.

To those who said nice things to me: thanks, thanks, and thanks again (one million times over). To those who say nice things daily: you are my hero(es). To those who don't realize how you impact the world with your positive projections: you rock. I am working on being kinder, being more expressive with my own encouraging words.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Farm Dog

We know, we know. She's told us a million times. She loves fall.

I really do.

Fall brings its fair share of outside chores (in beautiful weather, of course). In addition to the regular seasonal raking, sweeping, watering, and bedding down for the winter, my parents have a new house with another layer of chores that have to be complete. It's a good thing I have a farm dog to help me out.

All 7 pounds and 4 ounces bound around the yard as helpful as you can imagine a 6-month puppy could be. He especially likes to chase butterflies, chew on sticks, and crunch on hickory nuts (all things conducive to chore-completion). His masculine fur catches all possible burrs and stickers, as well as the crispy curling leaves that he passes. His attention span darts from one noise to the next, constantly keeping him moving about the yard. Zeke probably loves fall more than me. Now if I could only get him to learn how to properly use a rake...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cumberland River Run(ning)

I finally did it. I finally went for a run in my new backyard. Between all that I had to do before leaving Louisiana and packing and moving and attempting to settle in, I have not gone for a run in over two weeks (and the two weeks before, I may have gone for a total of four runs). I needed to get up and go!

Where I currently live is tucked into a hillside. Literally. While I find preemptive relief knowing that my bedroom will be the safest place during a tornado, it means I have no easy access to running trails. I wasn't exactly sure where I would wind up this morning, but I had do go somewhere. I found that somewhere 8.3 miles down the road.

As I tooled down the road looking for someplace suitable, I saw a road with a bridge that led to an island or peninsula-type landmass. I  turned onto that gravel road and found myself in Cross Creeks National Wildlide Refuge.
The bridge beckoned me to cross. I am glad I did.
It was slightly overcast, not even 60 degrees, and breezy. Even at the 10 miles per hour my car creeped and bumped along along, I could feel my running shoes itching to hit the pavement. I found a parking area, stopped, got out, and barely remembered to stretch before I hit the pavement.

The winding road along the river seemed to stretch for an eternity.
I may have found my new favorite place in the world to run. The gravel road stretched between two bodies of water (the Cumberland River and probably an inlet of the river). Trees painted with autumn colors stretched over either side of the road. I caught myself out of breath before I knew it, as I was moving too fast to pay attention to my speed or heart rate. "Keep going!" yelled the little voice within. "Find out what is behind that bend!"

The sun attempted to burn through the clouds at one point.
It did not make it through; rather its light provided a warm glow through the trees.
I had to turn around for I had things to do, but I am looking forward to tying up my laces tomorrow and stretching my legs out along that river.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Winding Roads

"I am going to kill you," she said through her pasted smile and gritted teeth. When my mother's jaw sets like that, it means she is only mostly kidding.

Under the glow of the hotel lobby florescent lights, I decided that was not the moment to declare "what an adventure!"

We had just finished a three-hour drive through bumpy, windy roads of central Louisiana. In the pitch black. And maybe through some heavy fog. Earlier in the day, I had decided this route would be better, as I wanted to avoid the traffic in Baton Rouge. That is a decision I believe we both questioned repeatedly during that three-hour drive. We packed the truck on Thursday and decided to leave that evening to get a jumpstart on the nearly eleven-hour drive to Tennessee. After a shower, a pseudo-nap, and some dinner, Mom and I got behind our respective wheels; she would drive the moving truck and I would drive my car.

I am pretty sure I ran over six frogs on that leg of the trip. Mom said she stopped counting the frogs she hit. We also passed raccoons, rabbits, armadillos, and possums. Some of the animals were alive and some were roadkill. Some stretches of the road was just pavement and a sharp drop on either side. Some of the drive ran across long bridges that were probably scarier to drive during the day if we knew what we were driving over. We bumped, rattled, and wound our way through Louisiana, stopping just across the Mississippi border in Natchez. Those hotel beds provided comfort if for no other reason than the fact they were still places to rest for the night.

Friday morning we hit the road again, taking a brief visit at Natchez National Historical Park (I can't pass a National Park Service site and NOT stop!). We arrived in Stewart County on Friday night with the cold and drizzly rains, unloaded the truck on Saturday under a pleasant autumn sun, and I have spent the past few days trying to breathe. I have been non-stop for the past several weeks. You know that muscle spasm that happens after you stop doing a movement repeatedly? Your muscles still think they need to move, so they keep moving in an odd and uncontrollable manner. I am currently in muscle-spasm mode. I know I need to keep going, keep doing! Wait, wait. No, I don't. I can sit a minute and it is okay. Is it!? I have to keep going, keep doing! No, no. I don't. Some habits just die hard.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Moving Randomness

I can now say I have changed my address 28 times before I turned 28. You can practically call me a gypsy (but not really- I don't think gypsies have addresses, that's part of being a gypsy).

You would think by now I would have learned how to pack and properly label a box. But sometimes I was not on my moving "A-Game" and neglected to label boxes accordingly. The result:

Although, in all fairness, many of my boxes are filled with miscellaneous assortments of things that are mine. Or that I call mine. It's just stuff, really. I just tell myself whenever I unpack, it will feel more like Christmas as I surprise myself discovering varying boxes' contents.

Today, I am loading up the truck with my boxes of randomness and tomorrow I am driving said truck to my next destination: Tennessee. I have been busy packing and cleaning and doing more packing (followed by more cleaning). I swung down to The Big Easy yesterday to say farewell to a friend and pick up my mother from the airport. Now I am back at my apartment, sipping on tea, focusing on the cool morning's peaceful air, waiting for the UHaul truck place to open. The next 48 hours will likely feel hectic. But this ain' my first rodeo.