So today I have decided to focus only on small things. Since the big things tend to overshadow my ability to enjoy things sometimes. It’s like I need bigger and better to impress me. It’s all in my attempt to start seeing small beauty and not overlooking things in my quest for the vastness
. I tend to be a person who is always in search of that stunning vista that fills my periphery with lightness and darkness and color. I forget that there are tiny pieces of beauty embedded in that large vista that often go unnoticed. And by me probably always go unnoticed. So today it was all about the macro. It was about the clarity of what small wonders can bring to our lives. It was a fungus living its life on a cold stone wall or the way water caresses the stones in the river. Its about the pattern on the bark of the tree or the single bud of a flower pushing up from between rocks. It’s the colorful wings of a butterfly and his friend the cricket (although he was too quick to get a picture of the butterfly cooperated nicely). It’s the way the trunk of a tree opens itself to the elements and yet maintains its strength and solidity. It’s about the way the vines grow up from the soil and twists around itself to choose its path. It’s how the moss grows fast onto the face of the slate being pushed up from the earth. Although I have seen all of these wonders before it is often just at a glance and not a deeper inspection. It is usually about its part of the whole and not in itself a whole. So today it was about seeing these small things in their own individual light.
We started the day with breakfast at Pancake Pantry. Today I tried the Parisien which are strawberry crepes. They were tasty and the meal was good again although service was lacking in its usual kindness. I will say that something I have noticed about TN in general that is truly unlike any place I have ever been is the staff. They are always notable. Sometimes in a VERY positive way and sometimes in a VERY negative way. For example the Hilton we are staying in…guy at the front desk knows our names and sees us and addresses us by name
! This is not a small hotel and I have not been an unruly bitch so put that out of your minds. In fact even when I checked in he remembered a request I had made for a refrigerator. I don’t think I have ever had ANYONE in a hotel ever acknowledge requests I made in a reservation! Then I thought I lost my blue tooth and inquired at the desk if anyone found it and he addressed me by name and said he would keep his eye out. We found it under the bed eventually and the next day he saw us and asked if we found it! So personal and on a level that is way above and beyond. It is truly the way a hotel should be. BRAVO. But then on the other side of that coin is the crazy maid I encountered in the elevator. Just her and me and she immediately tells me that everyone is getting their asses reamed because the rooms aren’t done being cleaned. She then caught herself swearing and did apologize. Ironically I could not care less about that. I just thought it odd that she would talk about the workings of the hotel (and she kept going for the length of my ride) so freely with a guest who did not initiate the conversation. There is an openness I guess by everyone and it can come out as good or bad. I can appreciate raw people because I am that way myself. You get what you see. I am not good at covering things up and pretending. But I have found that as a guest when you are in a customer service industry that it matters how you project yourself to the guests because you want them to return. I have had some out of this world experiences with some of the people here and the rest were downright NOT good
. I think sometimes it can make or break a place for me. But I have had such apposing contradictory experiences at each place its hard to throw a coin one way or another. The first visit to the Pantry we had the cutest old lady waitress who was just so sweet. Jym wanted to take her home with us! This time we got a woman who was not so…well…pack her up and keep her sort. I always think if a customer asks for something and you can’t do it just politely explain its not possible or offer an alternative. Eye rolling and audible huffing are usually not appropriate forms of reconciling the question. I would usually blow this off as someone who is obviously busy and the waitresses in there always are. It is a hard job but its really the extent of the reaction that bothered me. It left a bad taste in my mouth and the food couldn’t wash that away. Although it was a good try!!
Walking back to the hotel we grabbed some town pics and even caught a bird in a maple tree right on the sidewalk. I managed to put my camera up in the tree and got a fabulous shot! Although I am sure the bird was confused as were the people on the street who had no clue what I was doing with my arm up a tree. We took a nice walk back along the creek that runs all along River Road. So pretty. Li also got to ride on a scary hearse at the Mysterious House which sits back off the road and plays creepy music
We drove up through the pass again. Jym is getting aggravated with this because he isn't enjoying the same drive day after day but its really all we can do right now. We do see new things each time and the sky is always different. There is a lot more color in the high elevations now and I can tell its going to be peak soon. We won't be here for it but its looking pretty nice now. We also saw a small pull off at the side of the road that had a lot of mossy rocks. I suspect in spring its alive with a huge waterfall but for now its just a trickle. But it was good to climb on and very interesting vines and rocks. Jym even found a big vine that was in a circle!
We encountered some nice people at one of the overlooks and they offered to take our picture! Without wanting anything in return! It was so nice and refreshing. I get so tired of how people act. So entitled and with no thought to other people. I hate to say it but it is particularly bad in this country. Its embarrassing. People are just not friendly at all and self absorbed. I noticed the same thing in the Rockies last year. Very few people will even smile at you even when you are smiling at them.
We finally stopped at a small trail next to a bridge right outside Gatlinburg
. we kept missing it because we were taking the bypass road but now that we are staying right inside Gatlinburg we have passed it and decided to stop. It was very lovely. Nice shaded walk with a river flowing next to you. Great trees and mosses.
I took one more pass up to the Roaring forks trail and wondered if we could hike a ways in. We started to (just parked outside the gate) but ran into a couple who also tried and said it was just empty road as far as 2 miles in. We also noticed someone wrote "Our Gov't Sucks" on the Road Closed sign. LOL. I had to take a pic of that because it says it all!
When we got back to the hotel I got a text from Bonnie saying that they just announced they were opening the park first thing in the morning! Finally the governor of TN says he finished negotiations with NC and came to an agreement on who would pay for what (which is ridiculous to me since they will be reimbursed anyway). I immediately felt like I screwed up booking the Marshall House in Savannah but I did it because I thought there was no chance of the park opening! Now we are leaving in the morning to head to Savannah and I there is nothing I can do about it. Now all I can do to salvage this is to just decide what i want to do most which is the Cades Cove drive and the Roaring Forks nature Trail. I also want to do the Clingmans Dome drive and hike but I need to weigh my time since we need to get all the way to Savannah.
Jym said "Have you lost your faith in something?" I replied “Everything”. He asked “what can we do to get that back for you?” I'm not sure there is an answer to that question. Isn’t that the essence of faith. That it is always there unwavering? Because its FAITH. If its lost can it be regained? Or is it now just a word and a lost hope masked by a fake smile and false acknowledgements? Is it ever really faith again? Or is it more cautious wishing? Maybe I need to dig deep and start small. So faith and its questions aside maybe I need to start with what is tangible to me and beautiful.