The sun is streaming in the car window as I carefully follow the instructions from the GPS. Before long, I take the exit from the highway and within minutes am deep in the heart of autumn. The changing trees form an arch over the narrow winding road like a tunnel. On the right side of the road, there is a small stream; water tumbles carelessly over stones and pebbles as it makes its long journey to wherever its going. Around me are several shades of yellow and orange, with the occasional red tree visible. I later find out that the lack of red trees here has a lot to do with a desire to use red maple timber for something or other and most had been removed from the forests in a past time, before people understood things like the importance of conservation. I am driving to my friend's farm. It's not too far out of Nashville, but far enough for it to be rural.
And it's beautiful.
At 26 degrees Celsius, Autumn hasn't started here yet, but there is a frost warning for tomorrow and we are expecting freezing nights, cold days, and brilliant blue skies. What else do I need? The air smells like Autumn, fresh and sweet and when I enter the farmhouse, cooking tomato sauce and stewing pears permeate the kitchen.
It's time to catch up over tea and birthday cake, whilst the simmering aromas continue to blend beautifully.
A short time later we find ourselves in the car and travelling towards Nashville. Not on the highway on which I had travelled earlier that day, but down narrow country lanes, through a tiny village dressed up for Halloween, and past pristine farms with white or black picket fences.
Nashville emerges in the waning light and luckily there is a parking spot in front of Dalts restaurant. Inside, the booths are filled with families happily eating or waiting for service. A huge kitchen extends the width of the large space. But we don't stop here. We enter a room on the side, where a few tables of people have gathered to eat and to enjoy the weekly jazz ensemble. I'm not sure how old the members are, but they are so good, absolutely living their music; a perfect balance of incredible talent from five men that keep us entertained for the evening. After a while, Renee sings; the haunting 'Georgia' accompanied by piano, clarinet, cornet, trombone, and a rhythmic percussion in the background.
This day shall remain one of my favourites of this trip and perhaps forever.
Quote: George Gershwin