Today I realized why I love this city so much. I was reflecting on it because I had a fantastic weekend — it was packed full of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had in other places. There’s always something unique to do around here.
But is that just because I live in a city?
So I had to think about it further. Some of the opportunities this weekend were uniquely “Nashville.” But some of them could have happened in other metropolitan areas. I saw a play on Friday, for example, that someone could have seen elsewhere.
So what is it precisely about this city?
I came back to the conclusion I’ve made before — it’s the size. We have awesome opportunities, but we’re small enough that there’s an intimacy at those opportunities. At the play, for example, I saw a dozen of people from church, school, and my other social circles. Same with the music event last night — I didn’t know if I would know anyone, and I ended up running into all sorts of friends and acquaintances- more so than I would in a bigger metropolitan area.
So I repeat… I love this city.
On Friday, we went to a one-man show of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Anthony Lawton adapted the novel and performs it around the country. The Catholic Medical Association sponsored it at one of the local private high schools (a high school that costs $25,000 a year… so needless to say, their theatre was one of the nicest I’ve ever been to, period) and all the proceeds went to their medical mission to Haiti. But that’s not why Dr Ely brought Lawton in to do the play — he brought him in because he knew The Great Divorce had a message that people needed to hear. Lawton did a great job, and it made me want to read the novel again.
After the play a group of us went out to Sweet Cece’s. Because everything is better when finished with dessert.
Saturday I had truly beautiful day. It began with early morning Mass, because I had a lot of work to get done on my Church history class. I work best in coffee shops, so I like to get an early start to Saturdays and hunker down somewhere inspiring. A friend had sung the praises of a new coffeeshop in East Nashville: Barista Parlor. It was supposedly quite an experience — they craft each cup of coffee individually. (Which, if you learned to love coffee in Italy, is the way you think it should be.)
It was an experience– from the bourbon vanilla latte to the sausage biscuit (with jam… it was delicious… and the sausage came from the butcher next door!) to the tables clearly made out of felled trees… it was awesome.
A friend who lives in the neighborhood came over for a visit while I was on her side of town, so after two hours of working and two hours of socializing, it was time to head home. So I went back and read by the pool for three hours. The weather was gorgeous– one of those beautiful Nashville fall days when it’s 78 degrees and sunny with a breeze. Then my friend Maria came over for a movie. A good blend of work, relaxation, and fun.
Sunday I went to the parish downtown for Mass (the oldest standing church in Nashville) and then walked to get coffee with a friend. It’s always funny to be downtown on a Sunday morning when the city is quiet (except for Titans fans walking to the game). The weather was beautiful, so it was nice to walk. After the hot summer, it’s a shock to realize you can be outside and be completely content.
Then I went with a few of the Sisters to their retreat house about an hour away. It’s pretty new, so I hadn’t been out there before and was anxious to see it. Boy, was I in for a treat. It’s beautiful (have I mentioned I had a beautiful weekend?) and is almost worth losing Super Bowl XLIV (Sorry, Jim).
Pictures can’t really do it justice, which is why I was so blown away. I had seen pictures before, but nothing is like being there.
That didn’t stop me from taking pictures.
After we got back to the Motherhouse, I made a holy hour in their chapel. I need to do that more often. Mark it under “things I take for granted around here.”
Monday night I had a “only in Nashville,” experience — one that prompted those musings about why I love this town so much — but I’ll save that for my next post.