Occasionally I will think, "Holy crapola. It's so sweet to be back in Utah." And then I smile indulgently and look at the snowy peaks to the east and the deep blue sky and do the success baby meme move, without the sand.
Really, I have no regrets about leaving Nashville. Sometimes I remember it fondly as a period of my life that I'll never get back. I think of how naive I was back then. How untried and untested. I laugh to remember. "Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha!" This is known as my Lydia moment. Lydia from Pride and Prejudice? Right? The Colin Firth version. Stupid, naive, egocentric Lydia . . . oh Lydia.
Anyway. It's great being in Utah. Nashville was great. I loved it until it was time to move on. And now I'm here and I can look back and think, "That was an awesome time." There are things I will miss. Let me number them.
1. Fireflies. Probably the most amazing insect out there, fireflies never get boring. They don't. You can have seen ten thousand fireflies and still, that first one of the warm season and bam! You're transported to the woods where the sprites and nymphs dance in a magical circle to a tune supplied by a lute playing satyr. Something like that. Or, you know, you just feel like a kid again when you see them. I love you fireflies.
2. Cardinals. A perfect burst of color. Gorgeous. Lovable. Cuddly cardinals. No, kidding. If ONLY birds were cuddly, that would be phenomenal. Like a cat with wings. Who doesn't want to hug a bird? That's MY question. So anyway, I don't know every bird of the continental United States, but the cardinal is one of those that just kind of surprises you. Their plumage is this brilliant shade of red, and so often you see it against a backdrop of green and it's surprising, fresh, and beautiful. I'm sure it feels exactly like spotting a toucan in the jungle. Exactly.
3. Billions of trees. I did love the forests and trees of the south. But I don't think you can have that sheer number without the humidity. Maybe I'm wrong? I don't know. I didn't deal with humidity well, so if that's the case—no trees without the humid climate—then I'll go for fewer trees. I appreciated the green. But you know what? It didn't last. The middle of summer and lots of stuff died and turned brown, just like Utah, but you got the drab brown AND the humidity. Unfair. Anyway. So, loved the forests.
4. La Hacienda Taqueria. So, apparently my friend Emily's FAVORITE Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake just got busted for smuggling drugs on the side. They were THAT authentic. And my favorite Mexican restaurant is in Nashville, and I'm wondering if that "tortilla factory" in the back is really, well, you know? Because it's THAT authentic. Truly amazing. It's on Nolensville Pike by Thompson Lane. So if you're visiting Nashville and you think, "Hey, I'll sample the local fare," of course the logical choice is La Hacienda, or La Hac (with an S sound) as Stoker and I called it. It's A-MAZ-ING. Really. Stoker loved the molcajete and I loved the bistec ranchero or bistec la Mexicana. But EVERYTHING on the menu is superb. If you go, say hello to Maria, Chava (his nickname), and Gloria from me. I miss them. Really. They were like family.
5. Tornado warnings/watches. Kidding. I don't miss them. They happened too often and I sincerely had lots of nightmares about tornadoes. And we had some pretty bad storms and floods while living in Nashville. I keep thinking that it would be ironic to have sort of escaped the south without a bad tornado only to have one here. We live in a very windy area of the Salt Lake Valley (I can see a huge windmill by Camp Williams from my window) and I curse the wind. All my life I looked at that windmill on the way to grandma's, but it never hit me the way it has living here, that the windmill is there because this part of the valley is a veritable wind tunnel. Yeah, and there's that huge paragliding/hang-gliding cliff right over there. Duh. Stupid wind.
6. Being "in the South." It was kind of cool. The culture there is different from that of Utah and I enjoyed the experience of the region. I could go into it more, but I won't. Maybe another time. Suffice it to say, it was cool.
7. I never really mentioned this, I think, but I worked for the Methodists while living there and that was also great. Religions and their history are super interesting to me, so that was a very cool thing to work for one of the major American religions and learn about it. I don't miss MISS it, it was just cool and good for the time I was there.
8. I sorta miss a few people. But it's good to move on too. I hope I can keep in touch with some of them, though I have no serious expectations. Well, I mean, there's always Facebook and Google+, right?
9. Vanderbilt. Corbet was born at the hospital there, through a midwife group, and they were great. If I have another kid, it would have been cool to go there again.
10. Owl Hollow. Charlie's shooting range. I don't miss it as much as Stoker, but I figured I'd include it on his behalf because he keeps mentioning how much he misses it. It was truly a fantastic place to go waste some .22 ammo. And sometimes I'd see cardinals in the trees.
That's it. I suppose I could come up with more, but ten is such a nice number. No, I don't miss the music industry even though I had a LOT of celebrity sightings there. And right as we were leaving Nashville, Colin Firth was coming to town to do a film there called Stoker's something or other. Yeah, it sucked that I missed that. I'm sure I could have gotten him to sign my copy of Pride and Prejudice or something. Right? Ha.
I just thought of another.
11. The really old plantation style houses and all the moss-covered low, stone walls. They were beautiful. There are a number of roads that take you through some extremely gorgeous, wealthy, and old areas. The road that takes you out to Loveless Cafe, to name one without actually naming it.
12. Oh yeah, and the Meetup group. There was this quirky, lovely Nashville Writer's Meetup group. I adored it. I met a load of fascinating people who I hope to never forget.
The End. For reals this time.