A Rainy [and largely unplanned] Road Trip to Gadsden

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Summary: Sarah and I took something of an unplanned roadtrip to Gadsden.

BLOT: (24 Jul 2016 - 01:02:13 PM)

A Rainy [and largely unplanned] Road Trip to Gadsden

After the emotional intensity of my last blog post, it was pretty clear to me (and probably to several of you), that Sarah and I have some things to work through. Couples therapy, like any therapy, like an medical treatment, is only good when it is in tandem with working through the underlying issues. Things are already improving between her and I, and we made some big breakthroughs this week, but I would be foolish to think that recovery is a given. Part of this recovery, though, was returning somewhat to our roots and returning to some of the things that helped forge our relationship in general. Yesterday was partially about that. Sarah and I used to hike a lot, used to talk a lot, used to get out and play games together. We were best friends before we were a couple, and best friends as a couple, and that's probably what was missing most from the past five or so months of our relationship, the feeling that we were best friends still. So, we took a trip to Gadsden, which was an important part of our relationship back when I was in grad school, and spent a day just relaxing around one another.

On the way down to Gadsden, we got hit by one of the wettest, most sustained rain storms I have seen in some time. In fact, it was such a heavy storm that by time we got to Atalla, we had to take an alternate route to Gadsden because one of the roads was so flooded that cops were having to block off the road. Even the open roads had enough water that some cars were getting stuck trying to drive down them. We eventually pulled over in a bank parking lot, waited for about 20 minutes for some of the water to pour off, and then took a sort of backroads way around to Noccalula Falls. I had briefly visited the park with a coworker during a lull in the 2016 Alabama Library Conference, and wanted to take her there. We get there, it is still drizzling, so we hole up under a pavilion for about half an hour before finally going across the street to a Dollar General and picking up a couple of umbrellas. She has been playing Pokemon GO a bit, so the added protection from the rain meant she could hunt out objects in the rain without ruining her phone. Because of a couple of delays (the stops to avoid the worst of the rain, some stuff I will talk about later, and just taking it slow when we got there) we missed being able to go into the park proper, but we still were able to hike around above the falls and then to take Black Creek Trail for an hour or so as daylight waned and twilight built up.

We got far enough down the trail to visit the river, and then spent a bit down there on the rocks by the water before we came back out in the dying light. It was nice. I'm sad I've not been down there, before, because the trails are clean, well cared-for, and they have lots of nice and pleasing views. There's a mini-golf course and some other activities that would be fun to try (though the rain yesterday would have nixed them even if we had gotten there early enough to do anything about it). I'd like to go back, maybe in the cooler months of the year. Not terribly long ago, Sarah and I spent an anniversary trip hanging out around Gadsden, and while I am pretty adamant about not wanting to go on any long trips this year, travel has a way of draining me, it might be a good place to spend a weekend near our twelfth-anniversary. If you like hiking and haven't been to the Falls, give it a whirl. It's not like black-diamond style trails, more like casual ones, but it is pretty good for the soul.

Getting back up to the top of the trails, and walking back to our car, we saw a number of other PoGo players hanging out in the park. It was kind of nice. Just a dozen or so people, some of them obviously strangers to one another, hanging out and swapping stories. A few were sitting around and enjoying watching the people. I still am not playing the game, but I've been enjoying watching a bit of the future bubble forth.

Completely unrelated to that, we sat down and rested for a moment near this little trolley that goes through the park, and I got to watch some kittens run around and down the tracks. Nothing quite like sitting near a "train platform", in the dark, surrounded by a slight rain shower, watching kittens play, that makes you feel strangely like someone in a Murakami novel. I damn near tweeted the below pic (blurry as hell from the low light and the fogged up lens on my camera) with a message something like, "Watching cats play on a train at night. Help, I'm trapped in a Murakami novel. Send jazz and daikon radishes!" But I didn't, because I figured about three people would get and laugh at that joke, and I was two of them. Some of the reasons for being there, the emotional aspects, only added to the surreality.

After that, Sarah and I went across the street to Kati Thai Cuisine and had some vegan pad thai and some tofu/cashew stir-fry and soup. It was really good. They have one of the best vegan menus I have ever tried, and whole-heartedly recommend them. Then we ran down to Wal-mart so I could get a dry undershirt since the shirt I was wearing had been rain soaked for about four hours, and some much needed body-spray because I smelled like a cave-man, and we came back up to Huntsville. We got in about 11pm, and I lay down to pet my cat for a few minutes, and fell asleep almost immediately. Slept something like nine hours. Could probably still use some more sleep, to be honest.

One of the reasons we were late leaving, and a good one, is that after my post several friends and family members contacted us. Several people reached out and talked to me about divorce, miscarriage, problems having children, adoption, issues with their own marriage, depression, and so forth. I appreciate everyone who reached out, quite a bit. I also appreciate the number of people who said that Sarah and I were the kind of couple that it was surprising to hear were having any problems, since we seemed like such a special pair, but that they were absolutely sure that we could work it out and be even happier together. I think we can. There are certain lessons learned, certain habits learned, in our bad times that I would like to revisit. Like, I enjoyed getting out a couple of nights a week and walking around campus and around town. I think I will do that again, once heat allows. I liked that Sarah and I both had friends that we could talk to outside of the marriage, something I would like to keep up, though it is good to know the limitations of how effective this can be. I also know that Sarah and I being able to get out and have fun together is absolutely vital, and for those who mentioned that while talking to me, thank you. I mean, it was something I already knew, but it was good to have other people tell me.

And so, in the spirit of fun, but also with a hint of sadness, I will end this with a rather...fascinating...photo. Sarah hates bananas. Hates them almost as much as she hates spiders. She hates the way they taste. She gets kind of nauseated when she eats them. Except, strangely, when she was pregnant. She suddenly craved bananas and started eating them. We wanted to share this with her sister (a fellow banana-phobe) and so I took a picture and sent it to Alicia and Alicia's immediate response was, "Stop sexting me!". I've posted the picture below so you can see why such a response was immediate, even though the pic was just meant to be innocent and candid (the fact that is so blurry testifies that it was meant to be a quick Messenger pic and not something we were taking "on purpose"). It is truly one of the great Sarah photos. It is also, um, special. I will end with it as a way to remember a great-time that became a bad-time, but a bad-time with hope in it for a better future, but also to illustrate what it is that I am now fighting for, keeping this sex-pot in my life. Enjoy your Sunday, folks.


Written by Doug Bolden

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