A tourist’s impression of trees

My husband and I headed to Kentucky this weekend to run a race – a 10K road race for me and a 60K (!) trail race for him. This was my first visit to Kentucky and my husband’s first stay there when he wasn’t just driving through from one state to another.

We ran in a beautiful National Recreation Area called Land Between the Lakes, and I was struck by how much beauty and grace trees lend to a landscape. Maybe I was thinking of the trees so much because I had a long wait for my husband to come through a path among the trees before he could head to the finish line.

I’d had enough time after my race to drive back to our hotel, shower, change and check out before heading back out to watch him finish. I waited at this final trail crossing/aid station for over an hour, grateful for having finished my race but also grateful for such a beautiful place to run. I was also happy to see little signs that spring was coming, the hint of color rising on the trees, a bit of green peeking through here and there. I also didn’t mind the wait because it’s always fun to see how different runners react when heading in to another loop or turning toward the finish.

I wasn't the only one waiting for a runner to come out of these woods.

I wasn’t the only one waiting for a runner to come out of these woods.

LBLtrailcrossing2013

A little green vine by the runners’ trail promised of spring coming soon.

When we drove through Land Between the Lakes the day before, we stopped at one of the visitor centers to walk around a bit. While there, we walked through a historical exhibit that spoke of the sacrifices of turning this area into a National Recreation Area. The Tennessee Valley Authority displaced whole communities to create this area, and though I’m glad for the beauty of the place, I know it didn’t come without great economic and emotional cost for those who lived here before.

From trail to traffic
After my husband finished his race, we headed for Nashville. Talk about a transition! We went from serene, quiet, tree-filled trails and small towns to really, really terrible traffic and the constant wail of car horns and sirens. We headed to the Ryman for a concert Saturday night, and the traffic on the way from our hotel left me saying, “I would not ever want to live here.”  Continue reading