Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Tennessee is widely known for many factors.  We're the Home of Country Music and the Great Smoky Mountains; the Tennessee Titans and Elvis Presley's Graceland.  Three US presidents have called Tennessee home, along with notables Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, Casey Jones and Alex Haley, and the great Cherokee Sequoyah.  We have the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon on Earth as well as the world's largest artificial skiing area.  Our Reelfoot Lake was created by the largest earthquake in American history, and within the walls of the State Capital Building in Nashville lies the body of its architect, William Strickland.

Really.  I wouldn't make up something like that.

Yes, we're a famous state.  So many celebrities, past and present have been born here: Aretha Franklin, Betty Page, Dolly Parton,  Miley Cyrus, Dixie Carter, Dinah Shore, Greg Allman, Tina Turner, Kathy Bates, Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, George Hamilton...the list goes on and on.

We're also the third highest state in obesity rank, but we're not gonna go there.

One thing we're NOT known for, though, is snow.  And yet, for two consecutive winters, we have been inundated with the white stuff.

Hazardous?  Yes.  Inconvenient?  Check.  Beautiful?  You betcha.

Illness kept me indoors during most of the snows: flu, bronchitis, and severe kidney infections.  During those days of confinement we had deep snows and bright sunny days.  I stepped out the back door and got this shot...

 ...and the front door to get this one...

But the days I actually felt like getting out and about were dark and dismal.

Still, though, there's something enchanting about some of the photos.  Maybe it's the near black and white aspect, some with just a hint of color.  Or maybe it's just the subject matter - how can you go wrong when your world is wrapped in a fluffy blanket of snow?

I drove through the countryside, sometimes getting shots directly through my filthy car windows, as I did in this one.  I had no idea where the road would take me, but I was mesmerized by the tangled white tunnel overhead and followed it deeper...

...past old barns...

...and modest farmhouses, optimistic with wicker chairs on the porch.

 I passed ramshackle old sheds...

...and new barns on prosperous ranches.

These ducks were hilarious.  Every time the gray duck took a step forward, the duck on the ramp would stick her neck out and squawk.  I think she didn't want wet webbed footprints on her freshly waxed floor.

Mother and child were in no mood for company, so I moved on.

I drove slowly, savoring each frosted tree, every frozen vine.

Old barns fascinate me, and I loved the interplay of solid roof and open beams on this one.

Ah, the simple life.

These horses dined outdoors in the cold...

...while this one enjoyed the finest accommodations of the day.

The road looked promising, but a bit too treacherous for me, so I reluctantly headed home.

Yes, it was beautiful, but like this little bluebird, I'm just waiting for the last bit to melt.

Winter be gone, I will have no more of thee!

Fred and Ethel Go to Disneyworld


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