From Mountains To Molehills

It’s official!

I’ve been living in middle Tennessee for one year today. Yep. This is the one year anniversary of my move from Colorado (the mountains) to Tennessee (the molehills).

Now if you ask someone from Tennessee–particularly someone from east Tennessee and even more particularly, someone who has never lived or travelled out west–they will tell you that Tennessee has mountains. And I can see their argument from a southern point-of-view. But I am in fact not a southerner–I am a westerner, born and bred–and in my estimation, a state whose highest elevation is 6,643 feet does not qualify as possessing mountains. No, I’m sorry my southern friends, Clingmans Dome is a molehill. If you doubt the veracity of this claim, allow me to take you on a trip to the comparatively much higher 14,440-foot Mount Elbert in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. From this vantage point, your breath is–quite literally–taken away as you gaze out upon endless peak after endless peak.

Mind you, I am not insulting the great state of Tennessee. I am just correcting a few misnomers for the sake of accuracy.

So! It’s been a year. And no doubt my friends and family are just dying to know what I think of southern living. I know I would be were I in their shoes. The trouble is, I’m not really sure how to answer. And believe me, I’ve put thought into it.

When I first started dating my girlfriend, she told me to just give it a year and I’d learn to love it here. She should know. She was born and raised in Oregon. Apparently it only took her three hundred and sixty-five long, grueling days to stop missing her insanely beautiful state complete with–you guessed it–real mountains and to start loving Tennessee.

Well, as you might imagine, I had my doubts, but since I had little choice I decided to give it a whirl. So I did. I whirled it. Complete with whirling. I whirled it, and I whirled it and I whirled it. Around and around I whirled it. And then, just to be sure, I whirled it some more.

Actually, it’s still whirling.

Buuuuuuut I’m not there yet.

She also mentioned something about not comparing Colorado to Tennessee. Can you believe she said that? I know! Right?! Not comparing Colorado to Tennessee would be akin to not comparing a five carat diamond to a quarter-carat cubic zirconia. When you’ve experienced one, it’s awfully difficult not to compare the two.

After all, every one and their mother is moving to Colorado in droves. There’s a reason for that, and it ain’t because it’s cheap to live there. Because it isn’t. Not even a little bit.

(By the by, I’ve always wanted to use the phrase “in droves” in a sentence. You just experienced a milestone in my life. Strike up the band!)

That’s not to say that Tennessee doesn’t have its charms. It does! For example: it rains. A lot. All the time. And when it rains, whoa baby it rains! I’ve never seen rain like the rain I’ve seen in Tennessee. Think I’m kidding? Franklin, Tennessee has a major street aptly named “Noah Drive.” And in May of 2010, Nashville was completely flooded by a downpour that just wouldn’t stop. And just last week, I personally saw rain falling sideways. And it wasn’t really “falling”; it was more like attacking.

And the drivers! Let me tell you! Until you’ve experienced a completely sober driver at 2:00 PM speeding across three lanes of highway traffic at seventy miles-per-hour without looking over their shoulder, well, you just haven’t lived.

But, I digress.

It’s been a year. Twelve months. Fifty two weeks. Three hundred and sixty-five days. Eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty-six hours. Thirty one million, five hundred fifty-six thousand and nine hundred twenty-six seconds.

Buuuuuuut I’m not there yet.

Maybe next year.

In the mean time, come along with me on this journey, won’t you? In the days and weeks to come, I will be posting with varied frequency about my first year in Tennessee and about the adventures I encounter as I step boldly into year two.

How did I get here? Sometimes I can hardly remember. The past year has been filled with ups and downs, joys and heartache, sleep and sleeplessness, much laughter and much frustration.

But maybe together we’ll figure it out and discover some new and life changing things along the way.

Remember to maintain a sense of humor. This blog is meant to be taken with a grain of salt. I have seasoned it greatly with a helping of dry humor and a pinch of sarcasm. Don’t take what you read too seriously and with a bit of luck, along the way, maybe I’ll make you laugh a little.

Be sure to check out my “tweets” on the sidebar to the right. As the mood strikes me, I’ll post little musings on Twitter during the week which will show up in that sidebar. It’s kind of a “blog-within-a-blog.”

Never forget what Grandma always said: “It’s all mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” –Grandma.


16 thoughts on “From Mountains To Molehills

  1. Heehee. I can’t wait to read your coming posts!

    Oh, by the way, here are my “pro-south” comments, in order to ensure the balance and integrity of this blog:
    1) Honey, I said you need to give it AT LEAST a year! Day 365 doesn’t necessarily bring a miraculous epiphany of glorious love for your new home state. After the first year of culture shock, you can START to figure out what you think. 🙂
    2) Rather than diamonds and c.z….personally, I think a better analogy would be the old apples and oranges comparison. Both are great, but in different ways. Just saying…. 🙂

    • Doesn’t sound like you’re a dyed-in-the-wool redneck just yet. Still have a bit of the hillbilly in ya, do ya? S’ok. Beautiful Colorado will be patiently waiting for you to return, if only to visit.

  2. ahem….born and raised in East TN. Which does have mountains…The Smokey Mountains. Beautiful mountains covered in trees, rhododendron, wild flowers, etc. Not mile high piles of rocks. Just sayin’. Now a transplant to middle TN which I love even more. So maybe a year wasn’t long enough for you. Keep trying, You’ll come to love it and see it for the diamond it is.

    BTW – I love the banner at the top of the blog! Nice touch!

  3. Having grown up with the Sierra’s (Reno, Tahoe), lived close to the Cascades (Olympia, Victoria), not to mention skiing a variety of places west of Denver, I must concur with Kirk. The Smokey “mountains” are an exaggeration.

    • I know! Right?!

      One of the most insanely beautiful places I have ever seen in my life is Yosemite and Lake Tahoe is just jaw dropping.

      And then there’s Grand Lake in Colorado. Truly one of my favorite places anywhere. I miss Grand Lake very badly.

      • Colorado may not have all the spectacular color a previous reader stated, but boy are they green!!
        Well, at least to treeline, which is about at about 12,000 feet. And even then they have, um, well, an occassional marmot “sqeaking” out the warning that humans are apporaching! Now, if they only had more oxygen up there…..

  4. Enjoy your balming winter now, in a few years you will think that 15 snowflakes and 50 degrees is cool. Weird but true. Take it from someone with 20+ years in the desert

  5. Kirk,

    I absolutely love going out west, especially travelling old US 50 through Colorado, Utah and Nevada; or the trails of the lower Mojave from AZ to the formerly rural coast. My father was born in Arvada, CO, so we visited on occasion. I very much appreciate the scales and disparities of the American ranges, having seen almost all of them.

    The Appalachians and other eastern ranges are ancient — some folks consider them the oldest extant mountains in the world. If you’ve visited Memphis’ Chickasaw Bluffs on the south side of the Wolf River’s mouth, you stood on what is theoretically a major Appalachian divide. The divide was (or is, depending on your location) topped by an ancient path from the site of Memphis to roughly Gadsden, Alabama. This portion of the trail never crosses water, and through Alabama the old road is still almost entirely intact (

    The elevation of this stretch can’t be any more than 1400 feet. In the winter you can follow that old road and see off both sides. In some places it initially appears flat ’til you note you can see for many miles all around.

    One thing to consider about the eastern ranges is their height from the base to the top — they certainly aren’t like Mt. Evans, but they do rival a few western ranges. Cross them in a conestoga wagon and, after a while, the mountain feel is compelling.

    I gotta get back to old US 50 soon.

    • Hi David.

      The scenery along highway 50 is some of my favorite in Colorado, particularly as 50 gives way to 550 in Montrose and on into Ridgway. The San Juan mountains are some of the most amazing mountains I’ve personally ever seen.

      I have not made it as far as Memphis yet, but I need to. I want to visit the Mississippi and it’s very close to Memphis. I would also love to see the Appalachians.

      It’s not ALL bad here, but I do miss home. Admittedly, comparing the south to the west isn’t really fair to the south.

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