It’s a straight shot east along Interstate-40 from Nashville to my parents’ (former) home on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee. All in all, about a two-hour ride.
I had departed my house early that afternoon (ever tardy, ever clumsily disorganized), leaving Chicago’s urban grit behind to visit my folks. I had already spent eight hours on the road when I turned left from Nashville and headed east. The day had disappeared behind my back and the air began to cool. Night swallowed me whole. I had grown numb hours ago from the vibrations coursing from the handlebars through my fingers, hands and arms. No matter how much one may love riding a motorcycle...those flights in the wind...
it all gets to be a bit much after a while. I felt bone-tired. I simply wanted to knock on their door and hug and kiss my way inside.
An hour into this last leg, I began the slow climb onto the plateau.
The air changed as I ascended almost imperceptibly. I caught a whiff of dogwood (it was spring). It then dawned on my nose that this was more than a mere whiff. In fact, the air grew ever more redolent of dogwood. It grew saturated with dogwood. I came to feel as if I were knifing through an aroma cloud, the most fragrant and refreshing air
I had ever inhaled. If Heaven has a scent, well, this could have most certainly been that. My weariness dissolved in that heavenly scent.
I was lost in scent, in love with scent, one with the dogwoods. Never had I been so enamored with the mere act of breathing (and never since). Time and miles morphed to perfume and reverie until, at last, I reached my destination, feeling as if I had experienced a miracle.
I hugged and kissed my way inside, and I felt blessed.
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