Sunday, June 15, 2008

oh heavenly day

i'm not even sure that anyone reads this blog anymore, but hey -- it's really all about me anyway, right?

so - after living here a week, jim and i ventured forth into the heart of our new city. and i love it! downtown chattanooga is a beautiful place. there are 2 downtowns - in a way - one on our side of the tennessee river, one on the other side. the river is spanned by 2 large driving bridges and one very large walking bridge. it's a trestle bridge with a sunken middle, so i suspect it was once a railroad bridge. the view is lovely - you can see the hunter museum hanging off of the bluffs, coolidge park on the banks, and the island in the middle.

i can't get over the art scene in chattanooga. it has one! the beautiful hunter museum hangs on the edges of the limestone bluff overlooking the chattanooga river. surrounding it are many more smaller galleries, cafes, and inns. there is also a sculpture garden positioned on the top of one of the bluffs. most of it was modern art - and therefore not my taste - but there was one quite arresting sculpture of icarus. it's icarus, on his tiptoes, straining upwards, hands secured to his foolish wings. the sculpture is almost parallel with the ground, and it's positioned at the very edge of the bluff - as if - at any moment - it might take flight. i must say i was quite enamored of it.

we ate a local pizza joint called lupi's and were quite happy with the quality of our food. we also cruised around the famous tennessee aquarium. we didn't go in - but the landscaping outside is like a tour in itself. it's beautifully done - streams are built into the sidewalk. they're incorporated to look like part of the sidewalk itself was washed away by the stream's exuberance. in one area, a fountain spurts straight out of the ground. at that point, the pavement is pushed up and fractured, as if the fountain blew straight through it. there were kids in bathing suits everywhere, playing in the fountain. the whole air was one of festivity and joy in the summer day. not to mention that it was a truly gorgeous mid-june day. hot but not too hot, humidity within a tolerable range, and a hard, blue sky. there was a strong breeze off the river - and it was just ... lovely.

after eating, we roamed some of downtown on our side of the river -visiting art galleries and eclectic shops full of locally crafted jewelry, artwork, and the like. we found a great used bookstore - and it was there that the thrill of my day occurred. carol and barbara. barbara was in her 60s, carol in her 50s. they were funny, interesting, and they liked the sorts of movie and books and music that i do. "there will be blood" "no country for old men" - they discussed these movies with vivacity and genuine interest. and they told me about their book club - which is currently reading cormac mccarthy's "the road." i'll be joining them on the last monday of this month - and i couldn't be more excited. people with my interests! people who like the books and movies i do! people i can relate to in chattanooga. it was also heartening to see older women whose interest in independent films and culture and books and art hadn't slackened with age. i'm always afraid - on some level - that when i'm 60, i'll take to reading books like romance novels and christian stuff, and watching G and PG rated movies. it seems that taste must age like everything else and that i'll lose mine as i grow older. these women gave me new hope for myself.

all in all, it was a lovely day.

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