Tennessee is the Place for Me (A poetic journey)

Traveling through Wisconsin in the remnants of hurricane Rita
Traveling through Wisconsin in the remnants of hurricane Rita

"Every Happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of Life is to get the message" ~ Malcom Muggeridge

In 2005 my husband and I decided take a weeks vacation for our anniversary which falls in late September. Vacationing was not a familiar activity to us. I had rarely left the state of Minnesota for 40 years

Life at that time had been particularly stressful with various life events that seemed to come colliding together in a 10 year stretch of one crisis upon another. Going somewhere far away seemed like a dream, and it was.

We left for Tennessee in anxious anticipation looking forward to life without phone calls, unsolvable dilemmas, and crisis events which had become the norm for us. I found myself strangely nervous of letting go and being so far from my comfort zone. It would seem odd that one could find a comfort zone in such chaos yet it was all I had known for so long. It took a bit to wind down from it all.

Hurricane Rita, the 4th most intense Atlantic hurricane made landfall in the gulf region the day before our departure which resulted in a rainy mist that followed us all the way to Tennessee. We would get ahead of it driving and wake up to it again the next day.

We camped along the way simply because I am too cheap to pay just to sleep in a hotel. Camping was once was an activity I used to hate but having a tent that pops up in 30 seconds helped and keeping the menu simple made it very pleasant.

Our favorite spot was a small campground in Cloverdale Indiana. It was quiet and peaceful and I was the most thrilled to be able sit outside in the evening without being mauled by mosquitoes and it was warm.

A Poetic Moment

Basking in the reflections of dancing flames

Rekindling dying embers

All but smothered by the relentless deluge of crisis and tragedy

Flames prophetically leaping in joyous revival

Illuminating the darkness that lingers in the periphery


It's radiating warmth beckons us to forget the dankness of the cool at our backs

Gradually penetrating the icy stares of the reproaches of our past and apprehensions of our future

Gently dissolving the fortifications against life's harsh realities.


It asks us only to behold it's moments and enjoy it's presence

Never to lament nor anxiously anticipate

Allowing us only enough light to comprehend that which is within our reach

We really didn't plan a particular destination other than wanting to see the Smoky Mountains. We first arrived at Pigeon Forge Tennessee. I could see the Smokies in the distance but I found myself distracted from the natural scenery to all the man made hype and entertainment created to lure the tourists. Every nook and cranny of free space was littered with beckoning signs to events, places, and shopping. The roads were clogged with tourists partaking of their offers.

I couldn't help but ponder on the spiritual application to this sight. How the true and natural beauty of the eternal life lies just up ahead but instead we get side tracked and distracted by the lower things of this world. Things that rob us of our resources and leave us empty handed.

We press on to Gatlinburg that sits right at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A charming little town quite unlike Pigeon Forge. Although tourism is the major industry of the town it was not the circus we had seen previously.

I had concluded at that point that I didn't  want to camp. I am terrified of bears. I didn't realize at the time that my home state of Minnesota actually has the highest population of black bear in the U.S.

We got a decently priced hotel room at the Microtel inn. with a spectacular view. I looked down at a little historic church down below that had a sign with a heart on it that read,

"Thank God for all your blessings"

I knew that God had blessed us with an oasis of a restful moment in time. I finally let go and truly relaxed knowing it was all in His care.

I found myself becoming unusually adventurous and trying things that for the most part I am fearful of things like heights and horse riding.

Another Poetic Moment


Over coming things I fear

Like distance, height, and horse

Surrendering to each moment's dread

And finishing it's course


Rewarded with enchantments

Only courage is able to see

His orchestrated confrontations

Had gloriously set me free



Shadow increase the perception of depth
Shadow increase the perception of depth
everyday is a winding road
everyday is a winding road
obstacles envelop its wonders
obstacles envelop its wonders

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I was a bit nervous about driving mountain roads. We don't have them in Minnesota and my depth perception was easily dizzied.  I was amazed how gentle the curve and inclines were.


Mountain Roads


Ribbons laced through mountains

Gently gliding us along

Staging panoramic splendors

Like the chorus of a song


Wooing us up higher

In it's delicate incline

Sporting occasional precipice

Of heights and depths divine


Inquisitively curving

About it's genteel slope and grade

Provoking in us awed applause

Of the wonders He has made



Tulip Poplars

It rained that day but the forest of giant tulip poplar trees sheltered us and kept the crowds away. Tulip poplars grow to 165 feet with no limbs or foliage until about 80 to 100 feet.


I thought the rain has come that day

To dampen our regards

But sheltered us in peaceful mists

Baring visible rewards


Embracing us in the quietness

Of those who turned away

Revealed to us the deepest hues of green

A forest could display


Towers in the wilderness

Reaching for the sky

Shelters all that lies beneath

Never asking why


Stoic in their posture

We hide within their strength

They conceal us from the outside world

As we admire them at length

Mountain Rivers

I couldn't help admire the gently flowing river that didn't seem to have a care in the world.  It simply carried on to it's destination.

Oh gentle babbling brook of mine

What is it that you say

Caring nothing of the obstacles

Like boulders in your way


To tumble in abandon

To a place unknown

How is it that you carry on

In chatter without groan


Clingmans Dome


Clingmans dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Highest point in Tennessee. On a clear day you can see up to 100 miles in any direction. We hiked up a steep 1/2 mile trail to get to the top.


When we came down my husband surprised me with an anniversary ring that included both of our birthstones with a diamond in the middle. He told me he wanted the diamond at the summit of the ring to represent God. I couldn't help but notice that setting was in the shape of mountain roads.


Upon our return home I was looking out over our deck and noticed these very same flowers (blue asters) were growing next to one of the deck posts. On approximately 80 acres of land I hadn't seen them anywhere else on my property.


Mammoth Caves Kentucky

On our way back home we decided to visit Mammoth Caves National Park, home to the worlds longest known cave system. I found it interesting that our vacation took us to great heights and great depths. Very reflective of the season of life we were in at the time.


From the top of royal pinnacles

To a world below

Contrasting in it images

Realities to show


Illuminated peaks of green

Bathed in limitless light

Darkness one can't comprehend

Obscuring every sight


The silence of the mountain top

Invites a Holy hush

The quiet angst within the cave

Urges me to rush.

 Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river" Isaiah 66:12
Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river" Isaiah 66:12

Green River Ferry Ride

My husband was much more interested in caving than I was so I decided to go for a ferry ride on the Green River. Because it was at the very end of the tourist season it was only me and two other people so the guide turned off his microphone and let us sit up front and I just enjoyed the view while he quietly shared a few interesting points about the river. One of the facts was that the reason the river is green is because of limestone rather than algae. Anyway, it was a perfect way to cap off a much needed respite from the storms of life.


My eyes are bathed in shades of green

Soothing my despair

Tranquil reflections of a world above

Erasing all my care


The stillness and the calm it speaks

Whispers in my ear

To leave behind my anxious thoughts

Regretfulness and fear

* A random fact: Green is the most soothing color to the eye which reminds me of the 23rd Psalm

"He makes me to lie down in green pastures"

One final poem

A match made in heaven

A snapshot from above

Displaying heavenly romance

And set in frames of love


Captivating beauty

A glimpse of the divine

Packaged in the moments

Of experience and design


Invitation to the splendors

That reflect His majesty

Oasis from the storms of life

Held in silent Reverie

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" ~ Romans 1:20

Keith Urban "God's Been Good to Me"

© 2011 Tamarajo

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Comments 30 comments

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

TJ,

What a hub! Glad you were able to get away and experience all of this. The pictures were great and the poetry beautiful! Thanks for sharing your most favorite vacation ever with us!


no body profile image

no body 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

I haven't ever really been on vacation. When I was a kid two or three days were built around conventions of the Jehovah's Witnesses. No money would be set aside to have any fun and the times were always stressful and full of arguing. When I was married to my first wife money was always tight and I was working two and at times three jobs and then we had the kids and the money times got harder. When my first marriage broke up money was nonexistant and life was nothing but work. When I got married the second time I inherited debt from her and was still paying debt from years past that never got paid. Now my wife is going to school and work and I am retired. I have all kinds of time should it ever come up for a trip but I keep myself busy with the ministry. I figure that I will be able to go and do things someday but I guess I don't miss what I never had. That's why I am so grateful to you for sharing yours. I could actually feel the awesome majesty of that tree and the wonderful green of the forest. Love ya Tam. Thank you for bringing me along. Hope I didn't make too much noise.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 5 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Thank you for sharing of the value of vacations and that you enjoyed your Tennessee getaway experience. God bless you!

Forever His


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Thank you lifegate. It really was a beautiful experience. Life went back to usual upon our return home. The trip made it tolerable. I am so grateful to God for it. I felt like He orchestrated it all.

Thanks for visiting and reading.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi nobody, same here for reasons for not going on a vacation. However since doing that we have decided to go somewhere at least one week a year to just get away. We look so forward to it.

We came to discover that we really don't need to travel far or spend a lot of money to do it. It is just disconnecting for a week to not deal with problems.

Thank God the problems have relaxed a bit and life isn't so stressful I still enjoy the get away.

I did however fall in love with the state of Tennessee and if I ever decide to move that is where it will be. The Keith Urban song said it all.

Thanks for reading so thoughtfully and seeing what I saw. and I didn't mind the noise.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi Rev Lady it was sincerely enjoyable and I really did learn how important it is to break away for short times sometimes they really do refresh and give new perspectives.

I always have fun sharing the experience. Although I think I have worn everyone out at home with the albums and stories. They run and hide when they think about to show them something.

Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Blessed by your visit.


tinamarie9884 5 years ago

Wow, absolutely beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing!!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

thank you tinamarie blessed for you to stop by and share in the beauties of the trip. It was a visual and spiritual delight.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for sharing your creative artistry. Your poems are wonderful and lovely.

Is that you in the photo on the ski lift thing? If so, I respectfully add that you are a fine looking woman, which makes your husband a lucky man. :-)

I love this that you wrote: "How the true and natural beauty of the eternal life lies just up ahead but instead we get side tracked and distracted by the lower things of this world."

That is profound indeed. But my favorite part is your husband giving you the anniversary ring. Now that is quite a guy. May you both be blessed.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi James, ya that is me. I was terrified and only opened my eyes for the picture. My knuckles were white from gripping the bar so tightly. But it was fun nonetheless and I am glad I did it in spite of feeling afraid. It really was a joy in the vacation to be free from so many things.

Thank you for sharing my moment in time I have been blessed by your complimentary visit.


marimccants profile image

marimccants 5 years ago

Wonderful picture, This is really cool. Thanks for sharing.


anidae profile image

anidae 5 years ago from Tennessee

I voted up and beautiful on this hub. You visited my favorite place to vacation and I am glad you had a wonderful time. The pictures were wonderful and I enjoyed the poetry.It was like going on the trip with you.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi marimccants, I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. Thank you for visiting and commenting.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hello anidae. I am glad to meet a fellow Tennessee lover : ) I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and poetry. I don't get poetic too often but I was so inspired during this trip.

Thank you for your vote and visit and going along with me.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Lovely hub in every way! :) So glad you were able to visit the Smokies in TN and have such a special time (and inspiring) time.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Thank you RTalloni. It really was inspiring. I have since been many other places yet the Smokies are still my favorite.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

I'm glad you enjoyed "my part of the world." Thanks for a beautiful hub. I always admire those who write poetry, as that is not my thing.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi Esmeowl. I really did enjoy your beautiful state. I am typically not very poetic either but for some reason this trip inspired me. I really hadn't written poetry before and haven't since. It was fun to have experienced something that inspirational.

How blessed you are to live there.

Thank you so much for your visit and comment.


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

All I can say is: "Can I come next time?? lol, Thank you for sharing! Voted-UP!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Drpastorcarlotta of course : ). Blessed to get to share Gods goodness to me. Thank you for sharing my trip and for your vote.


FaithDream profile image

FaithDream 5 years ago from (Midwest) USA

Tennesse, and Kentucky as well, have the best views of mountains. I've visited both areas several times. My favorite view is early morning when the fog lifts over the mountaintops. It's God's Country that's for sure.

Thanks for taking this little trip with us it brought up some great memories.

Your photos along with the poems are great as well. Loved it!


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi Faithdream glad to hear you like this area as well. I really wouldn't mind living there.

I also found the people there to be rather warm and friendly.

Next time I go I will try for a morning view of the mountains.

Thanks for your visit and comment.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

Great sceneries, great poetries. Truly God has greatly blessed you. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments with us here at Hubpages. Blessings to you and your family. Best regards.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Thank you cristina for your visit and complimentary comment.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is an absolutely beautiful Hub. It perfectly describes the area of interest, including the tourist frenzy. Oh but the natural God created mountains, flora and fauna are incredible. I have traveled and lived many places but east Tennessee owns my heart. Thanks for the virtual visit to my beloved home.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Hi Hyphenbird,

I am glad you enjoyed the hub and brought back for you some fond memories and I am with you that of all the places we have traveled Eastern Tennessee is our favorite. We toy with the idea of living there someday. it really is God's country. I saw His handiwork everywhere.

Blessed by your visit and comment.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Wow what a wonderful hub;all your obvious hard work has certainly paid off!!

I can't say which my favouriote part is because I loved it all.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Thank you Eddy, I am glad you enjoyed the article.

Thank you also for stopping by and your complimentary comment : )


cj 4 years ago

all thi crap is lame


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota Author

Thanks for reading cj sorry you didn't enjoy the material.

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