The Road from Boston to Nashville
As we stopped at the first stop sign on our way out of Boston, I noticed that my rearview mirror was completely useless. The back window was shielded by a kitty condo complete with Eloise, my scraggly black and white cat, sleeping happily upon it. The cracked windows of my Camry leaked ribbons and bits of paper that were probably once a part of something more significant. Fluttering pages mixed with high heels and cat toys all jumbled and tangled with lamps and extension cords padded by stuffed garbage bags filled with my clothes. This is how we moved south.
When we passed into New York from Massachusetts I felt nothing. The landscape hadn’t changed nor had the climate. All that was different was that Eloise had shifted six inches to her left and was now snuggled into the top of my memory box. It seemed easier than I had imagined, moving south. Gas station attendants still greeted us with an angry sneer and grunted our total without making eye contact. It still felt like home.
“How ya doing back there kid?” Jimi’s voice crackled over the walkie-talkie.
I pushed the talk button and told him that I was doing fine. I made a mental note that I was going to buy batteries for these walkie-talkies and use them everywhere we went from then on, including the grocery store.
Rolling into Pennsylvania felt just as seamless and when we stopped for the night I felt at ease. The nerves that I expected to kick in on the move were not coming to the surface. I didn’t even shed a tear at the last gas station when the attendant’s accent was no longer a thick northern one. As I wrapped Eloise in a blanket and smuggled her into the hotel I wondered if we were far south enough to get grits for breakfast.
The next day it was West Virginia and Virginia then we would roll into Tennessee.
The temperature rose steadily as we continued on our journey; the air felt heavy on my shoulders. The first stop we made in Virginia was at a gas station that sold live bait. I had never heard of such a thing. Jimi laughed as I snapped pictures feeling at last like I was beyond my comfort zone. I was suddenly feeling like a fish out of water. Pun intended.
I was chewing sunflower seeds as we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, and I missed the chance to take a picture of the sign because I was busy spitting the shells out the window. I missed seeing the greatest symbol of our move south and I preferred it that way. I was then free to choose the most significant visual indicator for myself, and I chose the red dirt.
The landscape flattened out as the countryside stretched on and hills rolled by softly in the distance like carefully shaped clay. Far off treetops looked like giant stalks of broccoli and the heat caused a slight fog that made everything look like a dream. The jagged landscape of the north seemed a distant memory as the warm sweet southern air lapped over me like lake water. Crumbling barns flanked by heavy farm machinery sat on acres of green land dotted with bales of hay. From this beautiful scenery juts Nashville, Tennessee.
Seventeen hours in a car feels like forever and no time all at once. As I opened the door and placed the worn soles of my faded black sandals on the Nashville pavement I somehow felt that I was home. I closed my eyes and took in the clean air, the soft heat, the fresh scent of healthy trees and the sound of a million guitars whispering inspiration to the musicians that give life to Music City.
Summary: Moving out of your comfort zone can be scary, but keeping your eyes, ears, and especially your mind open can abate your fears.
By: Alexandra Gury