Google Maps has been super reliable so far, so I just followed along as it took me down this dirt road for several miles toward my next stop in Georgia. Mist was everywhere, stuck on the tops of the steep hills, cows and donkeys grazing in the wet grass, lush vegetation spilling out onto the road everywhere. It was quiet and peaceful and very much appreciated.
This was the day I had to drive through the place I never wanted to see again and it was giving me heartburn. Totally appropriate, since the reason I didn't want to be there was memories of a short-term relationship that didn't end super well. Suffice to say, it was a lesson sorely needed at the time and from which I grew a huge amount and for which I am now grateful. Still, that doesn't mean I was excited about driving through reminders of that difficult time. The universe decided it was time to face this thing, so here I was.
I'm good at moving forward and don't always look back. This habit of mine is a curse and a blessing all at once. It helps me to get up and keep moving even when everything is upside down, but it also hamstrings me unexpectedly with emotional overload. You can't plan this stuff. Above my desk at work I had a sticky note that said "when a wave comes, go deep". Yes, ma'am. Time to dive.
The clouds echoed my cranky mood all the way through, thoughts tumbling through my mind as I rehashed old conversations and tried to work my way past the waves of emotion. It was not my finest hour or two, but in retrospect, I'm glad I had to drive that way so that I could let some thing go that should have been gone a long time ago.
All of a sudden I came around a corner and saw the Nantahala River. The road followed the river and the trees curved overhead, creating a light, airy, looping tunnel of green and yellow that instantly lifted my spirits. There were approximately a jillion whitewater rafters floating past in the opposite direction. I stopped to buy ice at one of the small outfitters along the way.
By mid-afternoon I arrived at Carters Lake in northern Georgia. The lake is incredibly low because of the drought, but a beautiful, deep blue color that I couldn't stop watching through the trees. The woods smell of warm, baked pine. Not that punch-you-in-the-nose pine candle smell that I hate, but something gentler; I couldn't stop sniffing it the whole time I was there.
I stayed at Carters Lake for two nights, which I was beginning to feel was my minimum limit for a stay. Single nights are hard - so much moving and no chance to see anything because it's all driving and getting to a place, then setting up, making some food, sleeping, getting up again and starting all over.
A big part of this trip is discovering whether Maine is my home or if there's somewhere else that appeals to me for a while. One thing is for sure - I am a homebody and all of this moving is really hard some days. Most of the time I feel okay about it, but some days it makes me want to turn tail and head home.
On my first morning in Carters Lake I spent some quality time at Shottenkirk Ford in Jasper. Apparently I have been on the go with the car's original battery (2012). It's pretty much amazing that the thing hasn't died before now. Of course, it died because I left my phone plugged in. In 2 hours my phone charged halfway and the car battery completely bit it. Not my brightest moment, but I'm glad to have a new battery!