I am listing to pleasant instrumental music as I sit here. The turkey is in the oven and the pumpkin pie is cooling. In another couple of hours, I will sit down with my children at the table and enjoy the feast.
My brother should be at my mom’s soon with my sister-in-law and his friend Bud in tow. I love whenever he brings Bud over. Bud is an elderly gentleman in his 90’s. He fought in WWII and often shares his memories of that time as well as how things were when he was growing up. This first-hand look at the past through the eyes of someone who has lived it is always a blessing.
Normally I would have baked a couple of pies and headed over to my mom’s by now too. However, my mother reminded me that kids grow fast. She said that sometimes it is important to slow down and savor these holiday moments while I have them. I am of course welcome to join her, my dad, and the rest. I may even stop by later just to visit but I am also taking her advice.
Often we get caught up in obligation and rushing from one place to the next that we don’t get to enjoy the holiday. We get wound up and stressed out from travel logistics and traffic. This is a time for reflection. It is a time to count your blessings. Yes, it is a time for families to come together as well but love doesn’t care about miles. It is there between people if they live in the same house or in another state. Love stretches great distances.
My love for my family is always there. So while I might not be part of the busy bustle at my mom’s table in person, my heart is there with everyone and it is also here at my home with my children. That’s another thing about love, it can be in multiple places at once. It’s not limited to Thanksgiving dinner. And that is something to be thankful for.
Saturday the kids and I drove up to our state capitol in Nashville for a Cherry Blossom Festival. We had a good time. My son learned how to make an origami throwing star, we watch some martial arts demonstrations, and we ate too much. I also learned about taro when I bought a strange white and lavender muffin. (It is kind of like a potato.)
We left the festival around 3pm and were on our way home when we decided to change direction. It was our first trip to Nashville and even though we had a three-hour car ride to look forward to, it seemed a shame not to explore just a little more. That was how we went from celebrating Japanese culture to exploring Ancient Greece. (Well, sort of.)
In 1897 Nashville held an Exposition to celebrate Tennessee’s 100th anniversary as a state. For six months crowds flocked to hear speeches, play games, and watch parades. They also came to see a massive replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Sadly, that replica was built of plaster and did not withstand time. By 1920 the structure was crumbling.
However, the city of Nashville decided not to let the fascinating building die. Instead, the created a complete replica, inside and out, of the Greek temple using more permanent materials. While the Parthenon in Nashville isn’t made of marble, it was built to the same dimensions and inspires a similar sense of awe.
It is home to a statue of the goddess Athena that stands over 42 feet, with a smaller 6-foot representation of the goddess Nike settled on her hand. (The original statue this one was model after has been lost to time and greed.) Standing at her feet it is nearly impossible not to stare up at the intimidating goddess and imagine her taking a step off of her carved pedestal.
The Parthenon also houses art exhibits on its lower levels, as well as a historical exhibit detailing its creation. The Cherry Blossom festival was fun. The Parthenon was fascinating. We all slept well once we reached home.
Sunday, there was a Native American Pow Wow at Red Clay State Park. Since it had warmed up just a bit and the kids were growing restless, we decided to drive down and check it out. There were quite a few people. It was interesting but my daughter and I mostly stayed on the outskirts. (There was quite a bit of Sage burning at various booths and we both are fighting sinus issues at the moment.)
Inside one of the replica houses, we spoke with a couple of park rangers keeping warm in front of the burning fire place. They answered my daughter’s questions as well as a few of mine. (I didn’t realize that sometimes in the Summer that the clay and straw packed between the logs would fall out and the people would leave it alone until cooler weather. It would allow the air to circulate during the hotter months.)
We took a long walk on one of the hiking paths and stopped by to gaze at the Blue Hole Spring. (It was said to be an entrance to an “Underworld” where the seasons were the opposite of ours which is why the spring is always cold in the Summer.) It was nice watching my daughter delight in nature with the sound of drums beating in the distance.
My great grandparents were Cherokee. I never got to meet them but my grandparents and my father have told me stories. There for a moment standing surrounded by trees it felt like I was a part of time. My daughter walking ahead of me was the future, the echo of chanting and drumming behind me was the past, and I was the present but we were all on the same twisting path through the woods.