Memphis, Tennessee 
Summer 2011: Our roadtrip to Memphis was relaxing and great fun. I love the slow, dreamy drive through Mississippi before you cross the Tennessee state line. The truckloads of watermelons for sale ($1 each)! the beautiful homes and rural decay that dot the highway 72 landscape makes me happy for the experience of living here. There, I said it.

I may not feel entirely at home, but lately I feel at peace. We’ve just had three days of severe afternoon rainstorms, which hasn’t bothered me, it's just life, going on. I no longer feel utterly lost, not knowing what the fuck I was doing in life's every category of living.

So, here’s one thing: on the whole, lately -- I’ve just been happy. Not the young, high-energy kind of happy, but the quiet kind, the kind that soothes and calms and contemplates and doesn’t have a lot to say among the farm fields and cotton gins and the river and the trees.


Evenings here, lately: The heat constantly at your skin, the sky hazy and bare save for distant thunderheads that trundle up against the edges of the horizon, white and pale pink with early evening.

Daisies and wild asters, the tangle of grass, the swallows swooping low. I am homesick for this very thing: for summer, the way summer is, for August and everything after.

There are dishes to be washed and shirts to fold as I rock sliently in our screened in patio, the quiet full of sound: frogs, the trilling of evening birds, the hum of mosquitoes.

And finally without  meaning to, my eyes find the first star of the evening as fireflies mark the path back inside, the air sweet with the fragrance of honeysuckle, a filament of grace.

“Ah, summer - what power you have to make us suffer and like it”


Summer here, lately: Firming up our summer roadtrip plans, bookending August with trips to Memphis and Knoxville, Tennessee.
The moon over the Tennessee River
A few evenings ago I was outside with Bella, tending to the wilting plants and flowers, when a group of chatty teenage girls walk by. All of a sudden a girl yells out “Oh, wow! Look at the moon!”

The girls began swiftly dialing their friends to tell them, too, to look at the moon, a gorgeous July Thunder Moon.

So there we were, moon-gazing, sky-sighing, all thanks to one charming, enthusiastic teenager, excitedly gazing at the beautiful moon lighting up the neighborhood and the farm fields of our place down by the river.

A small pocket of time passing: I love the quiet and the solitude with unexpected breaks for things like en masse moon-gazing and deer sightings.  I’m still amazed by the cotton farm fields and the density of trees.

If it wasn’t for spending my entire life in a major metropolis, I don’t think I’d appreciate being rural like this now - yet I miss my life in California.

But, hey! Look at the moon!


I am officially obsessed with instagr.am. It helps me be observant of the faded beauty around me. I'm more likely to see and appreciate detail and texture when I have someone to share it with visually. Anything that helps me live more intentionally is a win in my book.


The weekend: My sweetheart surprises me with an early birthday present, the iPhone 4. I immediately download Instagr.am and I am hooked on the captured beauty of summer accross America.

Our Friday lunch date tradition continues across the bridge at the Albany Bistro . I've grown quite fond of Decatur's historic Albany neighborhood and my weekly drive over the river.

Friday Night, bright: Stumbling upon Jerry McGuire on Bravo and I am immediately transported to 1996; a movie date with my future husband, a seemingly ordinary night that remains peculiarly present in memory: the world narrowed down to just us; my date now such a presence for fifteen years of my life.

Jerry Maguire: This is going to change everything.
Dorothy: Promise?

A lovely Saturday afternoon of peach picking and a stroll through downtown Hartselle, a true southern gem of a place. We follow a yelp recommendation to The Freight House and discover a new southern culinary favorite, devouring black-and-bleu burgers topped with onion straws and a side of warm home made potato chips, all washed down with southern sweet tea served in mason jars.

“Everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can’t see. When I was little, I never left Pennsylvania, and I used to have fantasies about things that I thought were happening in the Midwest, or down South, or in Texas, that I felt I was missing out on. But you can only live life in one place at a time. And your own life while it’s happening to you never has any atmosphere until it’s a memory. So the fantasy corners of America seem so atmospheric because you’ve pieced them together from scenes in movies and music and lines from books. And you live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one.” -Andy Warhol


Georgia Peach
Georgia Peaches: They seem especially good this year: large, juicy and bursting with tangy-sweet flavor. Although it’s tempting to do nothing more to them than just eat them out of hand, peaches serve well in summer patio cocktails and poolside lounging.

"An apple is an excellent thing, until you have tried a peach." George du Maurier (1834 — 1896)

I’m constantly grateful for the peace and the solace, and the small, quiet particulars of small-town living. I never saw anything like this coming for myself, and some days I don’t notice, but sometimes at night while looking at the stars I feel grateful for this unexpected turn of events and remind myself not to take any of it for granted.

For the most part, I feel awash in the gifts of everday living and I’m not sure what else a person can really ask for.