Today we took a little trek just a few minutes north of Nashville to the Whites Creek area. We were visiting a friend’s property and enjoying exploring new parts of our great city.
It is amazing to me, that there is beautiful, rolling-hill country just minutes from downtown Nashville. This property is on 18-acres and is just 10-15 minutes from downtown. It is also nearby the wonderful Bates Nursery, and The Fontanel Mansion (which, but the way, is the former home of Barbara Mandrell, who I TOTALLY saw at the California Mid-State Fair in the early 1990s).
We had a wonderful time traipsing through woods (we walked for 30 minutes and didn’t see another soul) and even stumbled upon a little spring fed creek.
We tried to identify the many plants and ferns, and turned over several rocks in search of salamanders. I’ve lived here in Nashville for 6.5 years now, and just this year I think I’m starting to feel like we truly belong. I’m not saying we didn’t like it before, or didn’t have community, or didn’t feel at home.
What I mean, is that I really feel like we belong to this land–that this geography is becoming our landscape. My girls will grow up with bright orange cave salamanders like I grew up with blue-bellied lizards. My girls will know the jungle-thick forests of sycamore, maple, pine, and sweetgum as I knew California’s golden hills dotted with oak and walnut groves.
Recently, I learned what kind of biome we live in now, and what kind we came from. Here in Nashville, we are in a temperate deciduous biome. We have four seasons. The leaves change color. The summers are warm and the winters are cold.
The Central Coast of California is part of the Chaparral biome–not a very large biome worldwide. Moisture and temperature are what really determine a biome, and San Luis Obispo (and its surrounding area) shares its climate with parts of the mediterranean. It is a rare and beautiful place, and I will always think of it as the history that helped shape me.
But, I have felt (increasingly, lately) the need to fully embrace this new land. Not out of obligation, but because I truly love it here, and I feel myself letting go of much of the homesickness that plagued me for the first few years.
Tennessee is so beautiful. There are mountains, caves, forests (extra magical when the fireflies are about), and even rivers that run right through our culture-rich city. I see now, how silly and narrow my view of the world was when all I knew was California–when I was downright smug about how much better it was than everywhere else. I’ve missed so much by not letting myself love other places and new landscapes. And now it makes me wish I could live everywhere, until everywhere feels like home.
China, Prince Edward Island, Vancouver, and Ireland all have a small piece of my heart. What a beautiful world we get to live in with such vastly different wildlife and geography.
I’m so grateful to have called two lovely places home. And grateful for the girls to have the history growing up within them.
Who in Nashville doesn’t love good BBQ? Speaking of geographical differences, you may recall the very different cultural definition of BBQ that I have as a native Californian. BBQ is not something we do here in Tennessee, it is something we eat. And it is delicious.
After visiting Whites Creek, we sauntered on down the road to eat lunch, and found an amazing little hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint in a strip mall. It is called, “Real-Deal BBQ,” and I can assure you, it is.
I ordered a sausage plate, and the girls got the honey-gold hot wings. They were out of the brisket, but Josh ordered pulled pork (I think) and all of it was amazing. Plus, all of the staff were friendly and helpful and even let us use their bathroom, even though it was clearly not for customers.
If you are ever in the Bordeaux/Whites Creek/North Nashville area, I highly recommend Real-Deal. They even deliver!