So the one-year-old woke up at the crack of 6:15, ready to start shit while the rest of the fam was peacefully slumbering.
My wife spoke half awake “your turn” and for the purposes of keeping the peace, I grabbed Navy and just got the hell out of upstairs. Let them sleep.
Once downstairs, I just didn’t really feel like popping on Daniel Tiger for her while I lazily get updated on the day’s news on my phone. So gauche.
So I plopped her into the stroller and took off. No route, no plan, no TALKING. Just whichever direction strikes my fancy, one intersection at a time.
Walked past Swank’s old house. Past my old house. Past the house of the guy that set Gram Parson’s body on fire at Joshua Tree.
I noticed things that had escaped the view from my car window…a birdhouse thirty feet up on a tree, historical markers, garbage spilled out in back alleys.
We must’ve walked for ninety-minutes and I cherished every moment of it. Felt like a solid start to the day.
Come this morning, Navy is squealing again at 6:20 and it doesn’t take me two seconds to grab her, get downstairs, in the stroller and back out for our romp.
By the kid’s schools, past the destroyed houses, along the golf course, up and down significant hills. Not brave enough to try and explore the BMX course hidden in the woods with a kid in tow, but definitely ready to check it out on my lonesome.
All that being said…it just felt like a happy, beautiful, wonderfully invigorating way to start the day. Took a shower, gave the whole fam a kiss and made my way into the office 9am adjacent for the first time in three months.
The following day I took the two eldest in their two-seater stroller to the real destination. I had been too shy the previous day, but now I was ready to venture toward adventure.
You see, the public Shelby Bottoms Golf Course, not a half mile from my house, has been closed to golfing since the tornado on March 3rd. But sometime since then, the Nashville parks department has put up signs around the perimeter saying that while golfing there is currently prohibited due to extensive damages to the cart paths and the irrigation system, the space is open for all OTHER park activities. Walking, jogging, picnics, BBQs...it literally lists no restrictions.
Said revelation has been an absolute game-changer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the family is there pretty much every other day. The breath-taking EXPANSE, this massive green tableau, and man, I can't explain to you...the place is EMPTY. NO ONE else is there. In the dozen or so visits we've made in the past two weeks, I've seen no more than a dozen other people in the vast acreage before us.
Even one step further, last week, with the rest of the family passed out early, I strolled out of the house around 9:30pm trying to see how quickly I could get there on foot. EIGHT MINUTES. And with the darkness inviting, I clambered across a former putting green and into the beautiful ink dark realm.
Standing there, in the middle of the park, frogs bellowing, a train off in the distancing roaring dull-ly, like distant thunder. Man, it's been a minute since I've felt so alive, so grateful for my natural surroundings.
Rumor in the neighborhood is that the city is contemplating NEVER turning the park back over to golfing. Whether there's any validity to that or not, all I know is that I am deeply grateful for the time I've spent there recently. This legitimately feels like the first time since I moved from Detroit 11 years ago that I have a legitimate interest in my neighborhood. While it's slightly embarrassing it's taken that long to open my eyes, I am all the more receptive to what more I can look forward to discovering.